Skip to content

Spotlight on Hendra virus: addressing concerns in regional areas

Habitat loss is a reality for many species of bats and flying foxes, leading to colonies moving in search of nectar and fruit. While this extended pattern of migration is essential for pollination and distribution of our native plants, it increases the risk of Hendra virus exposure in rural areas. Hendra virus is a rare disease that can cause very serious illness in horses and humans - and flying foxes are the natural host.

A vaccine is available as the most effective way to prevent Hendra virus in horses. Simple additional measures to reduce the risk of exposure include avoiding grazing areas where bats roost and covering water and feed troughs at night if bats are present. Human infection, although very rare, can result from close contact with infected horses and their blood, body fluids and tissues.

Ensure you protect yourself and your workers against exposure to Hendra virus. Information and resources to support veterinarians, horse businesses and owners, as well as businesses that dispose of horse carcasses, are at