Vaccinate to protect your horses from hendra

AGRICULTURE, Fisheries and Forestry Minister John McVeigh yesterday urged Gympie region horse owners to protect themselves and their horses from hendra virus by vaccination.

"I'm urging all horse owners to vaccinate as we head towards the peak winter risk period for hendra," he said.

"Vaccination is the best way to reduce the risk of hendra infection. Sadly, human infection and deaths have occurred from high-level exposure to body fluids from infected horses. By vaccinating, owners aren't just protecting their horses, they're also protecting themselves, their family and employees."

Mr McVeigh said while recent data showed the vaccine offered protection for up to six months, people in contact with horses still needed to use common sense and follow hygiene practices.

"The hendra virus vaccine is only for hendra virus and horses can carry other diseases. Anyone handling sick horses should take steps to protect themselves using appropriate personal protective equipment," he said.

Biosecurity Queensland has updated its comprehensive Information for Horse Owners Pack - download it on the Biosecurity Queensland website or phone 13 25 23.