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Qld Vet Dies From Hendra Virus

Friday, 22nd August 2008

Brisbane vet Dr Ben Cuneen, who was admitted to hospital 5 weeks ago after being exposed to the equine Hendra virus which killed several horses at the Redlands Veterinary Clinic last month, died in Princess Alexandra Hospital yesterday. Clinic owner Dr David Lovell told the ABC: "It's just devastating. Spare a thought for the family & clinic staff who have felt the loss acutely. They've virtually had to maintain a vigil against overwhelming odds for the last 5 weeks." Dr Cuneen is the 1st human fatality from Hendra virus since Vo Rogue's trainer Vic Rail died at his Hendra stables in Brisbane in 1994 (when 13 horses died after developing a severe lung infection & bloody froth came from their mouths & noses). Infectious disease experts insist only people who have close contact with infected horses are at risk of contracting the virus. Meanwhile a female veterinary nurse (who has not been identified) is also in hospital with the virus "in a stable condition" reported smh.com.au. Dr Lovell commented: "I think she's doing quite well."

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