Queensland Government
Queensland Health

Hendra virus: fast facts

General information

What is Hendra Virus?
The Hendra virus is a rare but serious disease that can affect horses and (more rarely) humans. Horses may become infected following exposure to food contaminated by bat secretions which contain the Hendra virus. In the rare instances, humans have become infected after significant exposure to the body fluids of infected horses.

What should I do to protect myself and others?
If you think your horse may be unwell, avoid contact with your horse and contact your vet for advice.

If you suspect your horse may have Hendra virus, please contact Biosecurity Queensland immediately on 13 25 23 or the Emergency Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

The following advice should always be followed as a general precaution for all animal contact and especially for contact with sick animals.

Avoid direct contact of animal blood and other body fluids (including saliva, urine, faeces, birthing products) with your nose, mouth, eyes or skin (particularly broken skin). If these areas are exposed to any animal body fluids, wash immediately with running water and where practical, clean with a mild soap. You should always wash your hands after touching an animal.

Where can I get support and information?
If you have been in close contact with an ill horse in the last 21 days and you have developed flu like symptoms seek medical advice immediately.

If you have health concerns related to a current Hendra virus outbreak contact 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84). This is a 24-hour service.

For more information

For more information about Hendra virus infection in humans please read the following Queensland Health fact sheets or contact 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

For information about the Hendra virus in horses please go to the Biosecurity Queensland website.

For information about the Hendra virus in a workplace please go to the Workplace Health and Safety website.


Last Updated: 24 August 2011
Last Reviewed: 24 August 2011