Hendra Virus Similar to Nipah Disease in Asia

The Hendra virus was first identified in 1994. It killed horses and several veterinary scientists. Oddly, this deadly disease has only appeared in Australia. This is very unusual. Diseases tend to spread across national borders.

Outbreaks are spasmodic. Horses in Queensland and New South Wales have died recently in the latest outbreak. Scientists are intensively examining all aspects of the Hendra virus. A dog was found to be a carrier. Though unaffected and quite healthy the dog had to be put down.

Promising results have been obtained by using human antibody m102.4 on monkeys who were intentionally infected. The animals remained well for three days before needing treatment. All of the subjects survived. A control group of monkeys who were not given the antibody died.

Though unproven, the ailment is believed to be carried and spread by bats. A similar bat borne disease is widespread in India, Bangladesh and Malaysia. The Asian Nipah ailment identified in 1998 is of interest to scientists because aspects of it are much the same as the Hendra virus.
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