Indonesia bans Australian horses

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INDONESIA has temporarily banned the import of horses from Australia due to an outbreak there of the deadly Hendra virus.

A spokeswoman for animal husbandry at the agriculture ministry said today’s ban followed recommendations by animal health experts. Tjahjani said the decision will be re-evaluated every six months.

Indonesia imports dozens of horses from Australia, Germany, Malaysia, Portugal, and Japan every year.

Malaysia has banned Australian horses also due to the outbreak. Fifteen horses have died in Australia since mid-June.

The virus identified in 1994 is extremely rare but very deadly in humans, causing flulike symptoms that can lead to pneumonia or encephalitis.

Four of the seven known victims have died. All had direct contact with infected horses.

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