8 November 2011
Hendra-infected horses may transmit Hendra virus to humans in the period before they develop symptoms, researchers say.
Scientists at a CSIRO lab in Victoria monitored 3 mares exposed to Hendra virus. The horses had a discharge from the nose containing Hendra virus DNA after 2 days, although other symptoms did not emerge until 5–7 days after exposure (Emerging Infectious Diseases 2011; online 31 Oct).
"Nasal secretions of horses [with no symptoms] may pose a transmission risk during the early phase of disease that precedes viraemia [virus in the blood], fever, or other discernible clinical signs," the authors said.
This risk was still "relatively low" compared with the stages of infection when there are symptoms or immediately before symptoms develop.
Last Reviewed: 11 November 2011