Models that predict risk for Hendra virus transmission from flying fox to horses

  • 48 pages

  • Published: 6 Dec 2017

  • Author(s): Skerratt, Lee F , Martin, Gerardo

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Hendra virus emerged in 1994 and after a high profile index outbreak affecting horse stables in the Brisbane suburb of Hendra spilled over rarely for the next sixteen years, approximately one event per year. However, it had a high case fatality rate in horses and humans (50-75%).

In 2011 a large cluster of 21 spillover events occurred along a coastal strip of 160 km from southern QLD to northern NSW. In response to the increased spillover risk, potential for propagating epidemics and the high virulence in both horses and humans, the National HeV Research Program (NHVRP) was launched in 2012 and included this project.

The objective of the project was to develop models that could predict the risk of Hendra virus spillover, specifically the transmission of Hendra virus from flying foxes to horses. This would enable better targeting of risk mitigation strategies, improved health outcomes for horses and humans and cost savings in disease prevention. Horse owners, veterinary practitioners, wildlife managers and policymakers are likely to directly benefit from these outcomes.