For horse businesses, the onset of cooler weather is a timely reminder to make sure your horses are vaccinated against Hendra virus.
While Hendra virus infection can occur throughout the year, in the past it's been prevalent during the cooler months. Vaccinating your horses is the most effective way to help manage Hendra virus disease.
Vaccinating horses also provides a work health and safety benefit by reducing the risk of Hendra virus transmission to humans and other susceptible animals. You can also take measures to reduce the risk of your horses coming into contact with flying foxes by removing horse feed and water containers from under trees and placing them under a shelter.
Removing horses from paddocks with trees and shrubs that are flowering or fruiting and attracting flying foxes also helps. Return the horses after the flowering or fruiting has stopped and the flying foxes are gone.
If you can't relocate the horses, consider temporarily removing them at dusk and during the night when flying foxes are most active, or use fencing (temporary or permanent) to restrict access to affected trees and shrubs and regularly clean up fruit debris.
Always maintain good hygiene when working with horses and keep work areas and equipment clean. If a horse becomes sick, isolate it from other horses, animals and people and contact your vet.
For more information on Hendra virus, visit www.worksafe.qld.gov.au