As many as nine exposed to Hendra virus in Australia

A girl that attended a dying horse may have been exposed to the lethal Hendra virus on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, according to a news report in the Solomon Star.

The girl is one of nine people who may have been exposed to the outbreak, health officials have reported.

Dr. Jeanette Young, Queensland's chief health officer, told the Solomon Star that horse was destroyed and that it is believed the girl did not know the horse was infected when she came into contact with it.

The nine people who were believed to be exposed to the Hendra virus have all been tested, but thus far none have shown any symptoms. None of the nine people, Young noted, have been isolated or given treatment. They will have to wait three weeks for conclusive test results

“There’s no need for any of these people to change their normal activities of daily living,” Young told the Solomon Star, noting that there’s no evidence the virus can be spread from human to human. “They are not infectious to anyone because they don't have the virus at this stage so they do not need to do anything different to what they normally do.”

Another horse on the same property is also being tested, according to the report.

Four people have died from the virus in Australia in the past 15 years, including two veterinarians.

According to the report, a vaccine has been developed for the virus but cannot be tested until $50,0000 in funding for the clinical trials is raised by horse-owners.

The virus, which is believed to be spread to horses by Pteropid fruit bats, usually causes pulmonary edema and congestion in horses and hemorrhage and edema of the lungs in humans.