Equine nursery owner attacks Qld Health

THE owner of the equine nursery at the centre of the Hendra virus outbreak launched a stinging attack yesterday on Queensland Health.

John Brady said it was totally unacceptable that workers who had been in close contact with a horse that died of the virus were told to visit their GP for testing.

Speaking from inside the quarantined property in Cawarral, Mr Brady said the health authority's response was inadequate.

“You don't have to be Einstein to work out the potential threat to these people,” he said.

He accused Queensland Health of drawing conclusions from the fact that there had been no history of human-to-human transmission.

“There have only been six cases of Hendra in humans. How can you draw conclusions from that?” he said.

At a press conference in Brisbane yesterday, Queensland Health issued a formal apology to the workers and Premier Anna Bligh admitted there had been a communication breakdown.

But Mr Brady wasn't happy with that.

“I wish Anna Bligh would spend a day in my shoes and see how complacent she is then,” he said.

Queensland Health deputy director-general Andrew Wilson said: “We may not have responded as well as we could to the workers and I would like to apologise to them.”

Yesterday The Morning Bulletin reported that the nursery's stud manager Debbie Brown and her colleague Adrian Daniels had refused to leave the property because they feared they might infect others. After blood samples were taken yesterday, they were back at work, helping vets test horses.

“If there's no risk, why are all the Queensland Health and DPI visitors wearing space suits?” said Mr Brady.


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