27 May 2011
The Hendra virus will likely "disappear" with widespread use of a new vaccine protecting horses, its developer says.
The virus, which occurs regularly in fruit bats (flying foxes), has claimed 4 Australian lives – a mortality rate of greater than 50 per cent – since it emerged in 1994.
The vaccine for horses could be ready by 2013, and will block the virus’s route of infection from bats to humans, said veterinary pathologist Dr Deborah Middleton (PhD), from the CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory.
All reported human cases of Hendra infection have been acquired from contact with an infected horse, she said.
Last Reviewed: 27 May 2011