Hendra suspect sample missing

Peter Schuback with his sick horse – a blood sample to determine if it had a case of hendra virus went missing for almost two weeks.
Peter Schuback with his sick horse – a blood sample to determine if it had a case of hendra virus went missing for almost two weeks. Alistair Brightman

A POTENTIALLY hendra-infected blood sample taken at Sunshine Acres went missing for almost two weeks on its way to Biosecurity Queensland.

Biosecurity only became aware a sample had been taken after the sick horse’s owner sent a letter to the Chronicle.

The blood sample was taken from the horse on August 5 by a local vet.

It was picked up by a transport company on August 8, and Biosecurity Qld was made aware of its existence on August 15, locating it the same day.

Sunshine Acres resident Peter Schuback’s letter asking what had happened to the blood sample from his daughter’s horse was published on August 15.

Mr Schuback said he had noticed the horse’s condition falling away rapidly over about four days before he called the vet.

A representative from Hervey Bay Veterinary Surgery examined the horse.

A blood sample was taken and was due to be sent for testing for hendra virus as a precautionary measure.

Biosecurity Qld was not informed the sample was on its way and did not receive it for many days due to a consignment issue.

A spokesman from the Toll Group, which transported the sample, said “the consignment was designated by the customer to the wrong part of our business.”

“In addition, inaccurate paperwork was provided which didn’t specify the type of product to be conveyed.

“When the error became known a new consignment was arranged via the correct process.

“The package was never out of our control.”

A Biosecurity Qld spokeswoman said the department only became aware that samples had been sent to their laboratory after the owner raised the issue in the Fraser Coast Chronicle as he had not received any results.

Through further inquiries, it became apparent the sample had not reached its laboratory.

Biosecurity followed up with the horse owner and requested the private vet take and send another sample.

In the meantime, Mr Schuback continued looking after the horse.

Mr Schuback said he now believes the problem might be an infestation of cattle ticks.

Topics:  biosecurity queensland hendra virus sunshine acres

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