Woman exposed to Hendra tests negative
|Woman exposed to Hendra tests negative - 23rd Jul 2012|
|Blood samples from a central Queensland woman who suffered high-level exposure to the deadly Hendra virus have tested negative to the infection.|
The woman nursed a foal that died on her hobby farm on the weekend, and tests on the horse returned positive for Hendra on Wednesday.
The initial blood tests came back on Friday afternoon and confirmed the Rockhampton woman does not have the virus.
"This means the patient does not now have Hendra virus and this gives us some confidence," Queensland's chief health officer Jeannette Young said in a statement.
"However, to be absolutely certain, the patient will continue to be monitored and blood tests will be taken again in three weeks and six weeks' time."
The incubation period for the Hendra virus infection in humans is five to 21 days.
Dr Young said the woman received an infusion of an experimental Hendra treatment without any adverse reaction.
The treatment prevents the Hendra infection and must be given before any symptoms begin, Dr Young said.
The woman does not currently have any symptoms.
Earlier, Dr Young said the woman was "well, given the circumstances".
She was flown to a Brisbane hospital on Thursday.
Authorities are confident the woman's partner and a vet who sustained low-level exposure to the virus are not at risk.
Samples from two horses and two dogs that were on the property - which is under quarantine - are being tested.
Those animals have so far displayed no signs of illness.
The foal was the fifth horse to die of the Hendra virus this year.
Queensland's chief vet Rick Symons said it became sick last Friday night with symptoms including unsteadiness, a droopy lip and blindness, which are classic signs of Hendra.
The woman, who has requested privacy, contacted Biosecurity Queensland on Monday, a day after the foal died.
Dr Symons doesn't know if she took protective measures when nursing the foal.
"I think she had some (concerns) later on after discussions with her vet but I don't know how high that suspicion was," he told reporters in Brisbane on Friday.
However, Mr Symons insists Queensland horse owners are heeding warnings about the Hendra virus.
"Certainly with the cases we've had before, the vet did use PPE (personal protective equipment) ... so yes, the message is getting out there," he said.
Three other central Queensland properties in the Mackay area are still under quarantine after a horse tested positive to the virus last month.
© 2012 AAP