Hendra Virus

Hendra Virus (formerly called equine morbillivirus) is a newly recognized member of the paramyxovirus family (Paramyxoviridae), a large group of enveloped, negative-stranded RNA viruses that includes human parainfluenza viruses, measles virus, rinderpest virus, and respiratory syncytial virus.

Seroepidemiologic studies have shown that Hendra Virus is widely distributed in species of fruit bats (Megachiroptera) in Australia, suggesting that fruit bats may be the natural host of the virus. Hendra Virus-infected fruit bats have also been reported in Papua New Guinea. Despite frequent contact between fruit bats and humans, studies have shown no serologic evidence of infection in humans who have had frequent close contact with these bats, and currently, there are no reports of human-to-human transmission of Hendra Virus.

The paramyxovirus identified in Malaysia has been mistaken for the Hendra Virus, but laboratory and sequencing results suggest that the virus is a previously unrecognized paramyxovirus and not the Hendra Virus. As of late, there have only been three confirmed cases of the Hendra Virus in humans. All three cases were in Australia, and resulted in death.

More Information: www.cdc.gov

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