Hendra Virus

Type: Viral

Geography: Australia

Cases Per Year: <1 (7 total cases in humans from 1994 to 2013)

Fatality Rate: 57%

First Discovered: 1994 in Brisbane, Australia

Transmission of Hendra virus to humans can occur after exposure to body fluids and tissues or excretions of horses infected with Hendra virus. Horses may be infected after exposure to infected flying fox bats. To date, no human-to-human transmission has been reported.

The incubation period lasts 9 to 16 days, after which respiratory and severe flu-like symptoms appear.  Fever, cough, sore throat, headache, and tiredness are common initial symptoms. Meningitis or encephalitis may occur if the disease progresses, causing headache, high fever, and drowsiness. Occasionally, infection can lead to convulsions, coma, or death. 

Photo: Hendra virus – Electron micrograph.