YOUR HENDRA VIRUS VACCINE QUESTIONS ANSWERED Dr Nathan Anthony BVSc (Hons) MANZCVS Second revision, last updated Friday 1st March, 2013. Nathan is a member of the Australian Veterinary Association HeV Task Force, sits on the P zer Animal Health Infectious Disease Advisory Board, and is the Principal of WestVETS Equine Hospital & Reproduction Centre. Equivac® HeV is a new vaccine recommended for use in horses that is e ective against the deadly Hendra Virus (HeV). e vaccine was launched at the beginning of November 2012 and it is now available nationwide through accredited Veterinarians. Equivac® HeV interrupts the cycle of HeV transmission from the ying fox to the horse and also from the horse to human. Equivac® HeV has great bene ts for horse welfare and for human health. e risk of HeV in horses has to date been managed through increased hygiene and cleaning practices and various recommendations around paddock management. Horse feed and water troughs that are beneath trees should be moved under shelter to avoid possible contamination by ying fox uids. Restricting horse access under trees where ying foxes are known to roost, stabling at night, and quarantining sick horses is also recommended. Unfortunately, HeV has still claimed the lives of horses despite these sound management practices being adopted. To date there have been about 80 known HeV horse fatalities with more than 30 of these deaths recorded in 2011 and 2012. Equivac® HeV vaccination is now recommended in conjunction with hygiene and paddock management to provide a more robust barrier to the fatal consequences of HeV infection. Human HeV disease risk is currently managed through increased hand hygiene and minimising contact with horses’ blood, nasal discharge and other body uids at all times. ere have been seven con rmed cases of HeV infections in humans, with fatality in four of these people. Although Veterinarians treating sick horses are at the greatest risk of being exposed to the virus, infection risk also exists for horse owners, their families, and sta that may be in contact with a HeV infected horse. Equivac® HeV vaccination a ords humans greater protection against the risk of HeV infection by blocking transmission of HeV from the horse to human. Equivac® HeV vaccination is the most e ective tool that the horse industry has been provided with in the ght against the deadly HeV. e decision to vaccinate requires careful consideration of the risk that HeV poses to your horses and to the people who own and care for them. In order to make an informed decision you also should consider the available information known about Equivac® HeV vaccination. Your Veterinarian is the best person to guide you through the decision making process. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about Equivac® HeV vaccination of horses.