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Horse owners’ behaviour: suspecting and reporting of Hendra virus cases

Moloney, B., Wiethoelter, A. K., Taylor, M., Schembri, N., Dhand, N., Kung, N., Wright, T., Field, H. and Toribio, J.-A. (2019) Horse owners’ behaviour: suspecting and reporting of Hendra virus cases. In: 2019 Australian Biosecurity Symposium, 12-13 June 2019, Gold Coast, Australia.

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Hendra virus infection is a zoonotic disease which spreads from bats to horses and from horses to people. Transmission spillovers are rare events, but can be fatal to horses and people when they do occur. To date, HeV cases have only occurred in Queensland and northern New South Wales with a total of 83 confirmed cases in horses up to September 2018.
The National Hendra Virus Research Program (NHeVRP) was funded by Commonwealth, NSW and Qld governments after a spike in Hendra virus infections in 2011. The “Horse owners and Hendra virus: a longitudinal cohort study to evaluate risk” (HHALTER) project was a component of the NHeVRP and involved collection of survey information from horse owners from 2012 to 2014. The fourth survey in a series of five included questions about owners’ attitudes to reporting a suspected Hendra case.
The data are presented here using categorical analysis techniques to explore the relationships between attitudes towards reporting of a case and risk perception and demographic information. Of a total cohort of 1,449 responders, there were 613 (42%) participants responding to some or all of survey four. There were 592 responses to the question “If you saw unusual signs of disease (muscle twitching, nasal discharge etc) in one of your horses, how likely do you think you would be to... consider Hendra virus as a possibility”. Of these 81 said they would not think of Hendra as a possibility at all and 191 thought that Hendra was very or extremely likely.
The findings of this study reinforce the importance of an existing/good relationships between horse owners and veterinarians and also identify that the presence of severe or unusual signs of disease would be 'drivers' for reporting a suspect HeV case. Data presented here are likely to represent a ‘best case’.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Animals
Plant pests and diseases > Pest control and treatment of diseases. Plant protection > Inspection. Quarantine
Animal culture > Horses
Veterinary medicine > Veterinary virology
Veterinary medicine > Diseases of special classes of animals > Horses
Live Archive:23 Jan 2020 03:09
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:45

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