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Hendra virus claims another life -

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ELEANOR HALL: There's grief and fear in Queensland's horse community today with Hendra virus
claiming the life of the vet, Dr Alister Rodgers. The 33 year old was infected when he was treating
sick horses last month and he died today in hospital.

The Queensland veterinary community paid tribute to Dr Rodger's skill as a vet and called for an
urgent injection of funds for research into the deadly Hendra virus.

The disease has killed three other people since the first known outbreak in 1994 but Hendra virus
has never been found in humans outside Queensland.

In Brisbane, Annie Guest reports.

ANNIE GUEST: It was the news many had hoped would not come. This morning brought confirmation that
weeks of intensive care had failed to prevent the death of another horse worker.

ABC NEWSREADER: A Central Queensland vet has died from Hendra virus in a Brisbane hospital. Dr
Alistair Rogers...

ANNIE GUEST: With the death of the 55-year-old comes a grim statistic - the disease has now killed
more than half of the people it's infected.

Three have survived, four have died. Racehorse trainer Vic Rail lost his life when the disease was
first identified in the Brisbane suburb of Hendra in 1994, soon afterwards came the death of a
central Queensland horse worker, and then a vet died last year.

And the news of another vet's death has rocked the Australian Veterinary Association's president,
Dr Mark Lawrie.

MARK LAWRIE: We're certainly gutted, veterinarians around Australia are mourning his death,
particularly as it comes just 12 months after Ben Cunneen died. It's really hard to believe that
it's happened again.

ANNIE GUEST: There's been a similar response in Dr Rodgers' local community, according to
Rockhampton Mayor Brad Carter.

BRAD CARTER: My first reaction was one of deep sympathy, and shock for the outcome.

ANNIE GUEST: What effect do you think this will have on your community, particularly horse owners
and horse workers?

BRAD CARTER: The reaction from people I've spoken to this morning has been one of, you know,
considerable concern and shock at the outcome.

ANNIE GUEST: Horse people are fearful of the disease which is believed to pass from bats to horses
to humans. So far there's limited treatment and no vaccine.

Dusan Cech owns a property east of Rockhampton and his daughter is a veterinarian.

DUSAN CECH: Well I'm extremely saddened by it, you know, my main concern is that had it been my
daughter lying in that hospital bed, my approach to these things would be that no stone should be
left unturned in the search for a cure.

ANNIE GUEST: And one group that doesn't think enough is being done is the Australian Veterinary
Association. Dr Mark Lawrie again.

MARK LAWRIE: We've really got to take these things seriously, they're not going to go away, we've
seen influenza H1N1 this year, similar sort of set of circumstances where there's been animals and
people involved and it's likely that we're going to see more of these, and the risks are high and
we need to be dealing with them.

ANNIE GUEST: But there is Government funded research going on at the CSIRO laboratories in Geelong,
and at State Government facilities in Brisbane; what are your specific concerns about those
programs?

MARK LAWRIE: We would like to see more research and more funding from Australia - some of the
funding that we have has come from offshore from the US.

ANNIE GUEST: Politicians are yet to respond to the calls for more funding for Hendra virus research
and prevention. The Queensland Health Minister Paul Lucas has told the State Parliament he learned
of Dr Rodgers' death last night.

PAUL LUCAS: I extend my deepest sympathies. This is a terrible tragedy for his family who are being
supported by staff at the Princess Alexandra hospital.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the Queensland Health Minister Paul Lucas ending that report from Annie Guest
in Brisbane.