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Biosecurity Queensland and Queensland Health officers are working at the Kuranda property again today after a Hendra virus infection was confirmed yesterday afternoon.
Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Rick Symons said officers were further assessing this situation - at this stage we understand there are 36 horses on the property.
"These officers will continue to work with the owners today to assess these animals and to trace their contact with any other horses."
Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said staff from Queensland Health's Cairns Public Health Unit yesterday travelled to the property to assess the situation and whether any testing or treatment is required - these staff are on-site again today.
"To date, Queensland Health assessments have identified at least six people who have had negligible or low exposure levels, which equates to a very low risk - all appropriate initial testing, including blood tests, has been arranged.
"Queensland Health staff will continue to undertake contact tracing work to ensure all people potentially exposed to the sick horse have been identified.
"I would like to reassure any tourists or visitors to the property over the weekend that transmission of the virus requires close contact with body fluids of the sick horse.
"There is no evidence that the virus can be passed directly from flying foxes to humans, from the environment to humans, or from humans to horses.
"Anyone who has been at the property since Thursday, 7 July and are worried that they may have had contact with the infected horse, should contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).
"Queensland Health stands ready to provide any assistance, counselling, information, testing or treatment that may be required."
Dr Symons said that in total, there were nine properties under quarantine in Queensland at the moment.
"Across these properties we have had 6 confirmed horse deaths - at this stage 76 horses are being monitored daily.
"However, while there is an increase in the number of infections this year, I would stress that this is still a rare disease and these are discrete incidents - Hendra virus is not spreading like other diseases such as Equine Influenza.
"On the rare occasions when the disease is transmitted from flying foxes to horses, the virus can only then spread from horses to horses or horses to humans who are in close contact with the infected horse.
"The best protection for people is for them to put their own safety first - they must wear protective equipment if they suspect any illness in their horses."
Dr Symons said the first meeting of the cross-border Hendra Virus Taskforce was also held in Brisbane today, with a focus on maintaining a cooperative approach between Queensland and New South Wales.
"While the two governments were already working closely, we have reaffirmed our commitment to ensure we maintain a consistent and coordinated response across both states to Hendra virus incidents.
"Through this meeting we have agreed to share Hendra virus response guidelines and communication materials along with research knowledge.
"While Queensland has been exposed to the virus since 1994, we recognise that the disease is still relatively new and we can further build on what we have developed by drawing on new expertise.
"We have a lot of knowledge to share, but there are still plenty of questions to address before we can understand all aspects of how the virus behaves."
The Hendra virus taskforce was formed after discussions between Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and NSW Premier Barry O´Farrell last week. It includes the Chief Veterinarians, Chief Health Officers and Chief scientists from both states as well as a CSIRO representative.
The next meeting of the Taskforce is scheduled to be held within the next two weeks.
For more information on Hendra virus contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au