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Family defends Hendra-infected dog -

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ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: The owners of the first dog to test positive to Hendra virus say they're
concerned for their family's health, but don't want to put the dog down.

The pet contracted the virus on the family property south-west of Brisbane.

The family has been tested for the virus, but none is showing signs of illness.

Meanwhile, authorities have held crisis talks and boosted research funding to try to stop the
mysterious disease spreading further.

Stephanie Smail reports.

STEPHANIE SMAIL, REPORTER: Neil and Liz Fearon are worried for their family. Their Kelpie, Dusty,
has tested positive for Hendra after coming into contact with three horses that died from the virus
on their property south-west of Brisbane. They say he's been living in their house and sleeping on
their son's bed.

NEIL FEARON, PROPERTY OWNER: Yeah, we do have raised concerns again because it is a big unknown, I
think. They don't know what this virus is capable of.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Four out of the seven people who have contracted Hendra have died. Queensland
Health says anyone who's come into contact with sick animals is being tested for the virus. The dog
is undergoing another round of tests, but it's likely it will have to be put down.

RICK SYMONS, QLD CHIEF VETERINARY OFFICER: And one of the risks we're concerned about is that it
may change the behaviour of that dog as a result of the infection, it may make it aggressive. That
makes it quite a dangerous - potentially a dangerous dog.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: The Fearons say they won't give up their dog without a fight.

NEIL FEARON: I'm not going to allow them to do anything with this dog until we have those results
in.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: There have been more than 10 outbreaks of the virus in horses on Queensland and
NSW properties over the past month. Authorities from both states met for crisis talks in Brisbane
today. They've promised an extra $6 million to boost research into the deadly disease.

ANNA BLIGH, QLD PREMIER: The research effort that we are now funding will be going directly to some
of the questions about how this virus is spreading, why we are seeing such a spike, what effects
climatic conditions and changes might be having on it, whether, for example, our extremely high
rainfall has changed the way that trees are fruiting and flowering and that has had an effect.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Scientists are assuring dog owners it's unlikely flying foxes can transmit the
virus directly to dogs.

RICK SYMONS: We know that probably you need a high viral load, that is, you need a lot of virus to
transmit the disease. The chances of that happening from bat to dog would be very low.

JOURNALIST: But possible.

RICK SYMONS: It's possible, yes, it is possible, but not likely.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: The Queensland Opposition says moving flying foxes out of urban areas will solve
the problem.

CAMPBELL NEWMAN, QLD LNP LEADER: Move the bats on by smoke bombs, loud noises and the use of
helicopters. It does work.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: But the State Government says scientific advice suggests otherwise.

ANNA BLIGH: Moving them from one place will simply move the potential for Hendra virus to another
place and potentially spread it more quickly.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Meanwhile, the Fearon family is anxiously waiting for results.

Stephanie Smail, Lateline.