Study: Communicating Hendra Virus Risk to Horse Owners Proves Challenging
Faced with a sick horse, veterinarians’ primary concern is to treat the animal, get him well again, and prevent disease spread in the meantime. But when the horse’s illness presents a health threat to people, as well, priorities can change. Human health and safety move to the forefront, with the veterinarian serving in the important role of educating clients.
The trouble is, horse owners don’t always listen. So Australian researchers recently examined how to effectively stress the importance of the risks associated with Hendra virus, a deadly zoonotic disease that emerged on the east coast of Australia in the 1990. Zoonotic diseases are those than can transfer between animals and humans.
Hendra virus is carried by flying foxes, Australian fruit-eating bats endemic to tropical and sub-tropical regions. Horses get it by inadvertently ingesting infected droppings or bodily fluids, and humans contract it when handling infected equine
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