Confirmed Hendra virus horse death in Newcastle and multiple horse deaths reported in Victoria

Confirmed Hendra virus horse death in Newcastle

A 24-year-old unvaccinated horse has died from Hendra virus at a property near Newcastle in NSW.

The horse was attended by a veterinarian and found to be depressed and uncoordinated, with nasal discharge and a high temperature.

Hendra virus was confirmed late on Tuesday, July 18, 2023 following testing conducted by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI). 

Click here for further information from DPI NSW Media.

Signs of Hendra virus infection can be non-specific in the early stages, and anyone who is concerned about possible infection should seek veterinary attention, isolate the horse, and avoid contact with the horse until Hendra virus exclusion results are obtained.

The risk of infection from Hendra virus may be minimised by:

  • Vaccinating horses – the highly-protective vaccine available for horses is the most effective way to manage Hendra virus disease risk;
  • Paddock management – remove feed and water from underneath trees frequented by flying foxes and move horses out of paddocks when trees attractive to flying foxes are flowering or fruiting; and
  • Wearing appropriate personal protection equipment when dealing will ill horses.

There have now been 67 confirmed Hendra virus outbreak incidences in Australia, including 109 horse deaths, and infection recorded in seven people, four of whom subsequently died.

Click here for more information about Hendra virus from Biosecurity Queensland.

Multiple horse deaths reported in Victoria

Agriculture Victoria is investigating the cause of multiple sudden deaths in horses on separate properties on the Mornington Peninsula and in South East Melbourne and South West Victoria.

Agriculture Victoria has reported that no Hendra virus has been detected in Victoria as part of the current investigation, and there is not thought to be any connection to the Hendra virus incident in New South Wales.

Click here for more information from the Agriculture Victoria.

Biosecurity Queensland advises that there are currently no movement restrictions in place for moving horses from Victoria into Queensland. However, in Queensland the general biosecurity obligation requires people to manage any biosecurity risk, including any illness in horses.

Only healthy horses fit for the intended journey should be transported.

Trainers and veterinarians are advised to remain hypervigilant in monitoring horses for signs of illness and disease. In particular:

  • Participants are asked to contact their local veterinarian immediately if they have a case/s of sudden death or any sudden onset of illness in any of their horses, including non-thoroughbreds;
  • Veterinarians attending a case/s of unexpected death or illness, where a cause cannot be established or when horses present with unusual clinical signs, should contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888; and
  • Participants are also asked to report any such cases of concern to the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission via or by calling 1300 087 021.