A lethal bat-borne horse virus has been detect in a dog for the first time, establishment in Australia said on Tuesday, prompt fears it has jump species.
"This is the first time outside of a laboratory that an animal other than a flying fox or a horse, or a human, has been long-established with Hendra virus infection," Queensland state Chief Veterinary Officer Rick Symons said.
So far, 14 horses have died or been put down in Australia since June as a consequence of the Hendra virus, which was only discovered in 1994.No human have yet been impure in the current outbreak, which has affected farms in New South Wales and Queensland, but four of the seven people ever to have contracted the disease have died.
Symons said the dog, which experienced positive for antibodies for the disease but appear healthy, was on a possessions where Hendra had been long-established and was currently under quarantine. He added that the case raised many questions for biosecurity and health officials and researchers.
"We don’t know how the dog contracted the virus or when it happens," he said.
"Based on our knowledge to date, it is most likely that the dog caught the virus from an infected horse."
The virus is thought to be spread to horses via half-chewed fruit, or water and food contaminated by bats' droppings. Malaysia has imposed a ban on the import of horses from Australia as a precautionary measure following the outbreak.