Experimental infection of horses with Hendra virus/Australia/horse/2008/Redlands.Emerg Infect Dis. 2011 Dec; 17(12):2232-8.EI
Hendra virus (HeV) is a highly pathogenic zoonotic paramyxovirus harbored by Australian flying foxes with sporadic spillovers directly to horses. Although the mode and critical control points of HeV spillover to horses from flying foxes, and the risk for transmission from infected horses to other horses and humans, are poorly understood, we successfully established systemic HeV disease in 3 horses exposed to Hendra virus/Australia/Horse/2008/Redlands by the oronasal route, a plausible route for natural infection. In 2 of the 3 animals, HeV RNA was detected continually in nasal swabs from as early as 2 days postexposure, indicating that systemic spread of the virus may be preceded by local viral replication in the nasal cavity or nasopharynx. Our data suggest that a critical factor for reducing HeV exposure risk to humans includes early consideration of HeV in the differential diagnosis and institution of appropriate infection control procedures.