Beware of the Hendra Virus Threat, what is it?

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The threat of the Covid-19 pandemic and acute hepatitis is still engulfing the world. Now, there’s more virus a new threat, namely the Hendra virus. Hendra virus (HeV) infection is a zoonotic or disease that can be transmitted to humans from animals, which rarely occurs and causes severe and often fatal disease in infected horses and humans.

Launching from the official website of the World Health Organization (WHO), the natural host of the virus has been identified as fruit bats from the Pteropodidae family, genus Pteropus. HeV was identified during the first recorded disease outbreak in suburban Brisbane, Australia, in 1994. The outbreak involved 21 captive racehorses and two cases in humans.

As of July 2016, 53 incidents of disease involving more than 70 horses have been reported. All of these incidents occurred only on the northeast coast of Australia. Seven humans have contracted the Hendra virus from infected horses, mainly through close contact during the treatment or necropsy of sick or dead horses.

According to the CDC, the Hendra virus (HeV) is a member of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus. HeV was first isolated in 1994 from specimens obtained during an outbreak of respiratory and neurological disease in horses and humans in Hendra, a suburb of Brisbane, Australia. It is related to the Nipah virus, another species in the Henipavirus genus.

The natural source of the Hendra virus has been identified as flying fox (bats of the genus Pteropus). From 1994 to 2013, Hendra virus infection in humans was still rare. Only seven cases were reported.

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The cause of the Hendra virus (once called equine morbillivirus) is a member of the family Paramyxoviridaegenus Henipavirus which has two members, namely Hendra virus and virus Nipah virus. Hendra virus was first isolated in September 1994 from specimens obtained during an outbreak of respiratory and neurological disease in horses and humans in Hendra, a suburb of Brisbane, Australia. Meanwhile, the Nipah virus was discovered in Malaysia, which by the time it was discovered in 1999 was causing illness in more than 100 people.

Diagnostic laboratory tests used to diagnose Hendra virus (HV) and Nipah virus (NV) include antibody detection by ELISA (IgG and IgM), real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and isolation efforts. In most countries, handling of the Hendra virus needs to be carried out in high-level storage laboratories. Laboratory diagnosis of patients with a clinical history of HV or NV can be made during the acute and convalescent phases of the disease using a combination of tests, including detection of antibodies in serum or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), detection of viral RNA (RT-PCR) in serum, CSF, or swabs. throat, and isolation of virus from CSF or throat swabs.

Signs and symptoms
After an incubation of 9-16 days, Hendra virus infection can cause respiratory illness with severe flu-like signs and symptoms. In some cases, the disease may progress to encephalitis. Although Hendra virus infection is rare, the case fatality rate is high, 4:7 (57 percent).

The drug ribavirin has been shown to be effective against viruses in vitro but its clinical utility is uncertain. Postexposure therapy with Nipah/Hendra neutralizing antibodies is efficacious in animals in the human preclinical development stage in Australia.

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Exposure risk
Bat flying fox Australia (genus Pteropus) is the natural source of the Hendra virus. Serological evidence for HeV infection has been found in all four Australian flying fox species but virus transmission in horses is limited to coastal and forest areas of Australia (states of Queensland and New South Wales).

The people at highest risk are those living in flying fox distributions and with work or recreation with horses that have potential contact with flying foxes in Australia.

The occurrence of disease in humans has been associated only with infection with intermediate species such as horses. Early recognition of disease in intermediate host animals may be the most important means of limiting future human cases.

Hendra virus infection can be prevented by avoiding horses that are sick or possibly infected with HeV and using appropriate personal protective equipment when contact is necessary, such as in veterinary procedures. A commercial vaccine has recently been licensed in Australia for kuda and can benefit other animals and eventually humans.

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