Hendra horror worsens

AS Rockhampton vet Dr Alister Rodgers fights for his life in a Brisbane Hospital, his family yesterday said they had been touched by the overwhelming support from a caring city.

The community is desperately hoping Dr Rodgers can overcome the deadly Hendra virus which he contracted after handling a horse which later died from the virus at the J4S equine stud at Cawarral.

Yesterday afternoon he was in a critical condition in Princess Alexandra Hospital's intensive care unit.

Meanwhile, three horse stud workers at risk of contracting the virus from the property have been transferred to the same Brisbane hospital.

A statement by Linda, Courtney and Duncan Rodgers said the family wanted to express its gratitude during this tough time.

“We wish to express our immense gratitude to every person who has supported Alister and our family during his illness,” the family said.

“Alister would be deeply touched.

“The response has been overwhelming and has come from friends, acquaintances and even strangers.

“The people of Rockhampton - especially his colleagues at Rockhampton Veterinary Clinic, those who cared for him at Rockhampton Hospital and many veterinary colleagues - will always remain special to us.”

The family said their thoughts were also with the other Rockhampton people flown to Brisbane.

“For most of the last 48 hours, we have been pre-occupied with the seriousness of Alister's condition,” they said.

“But we have been concerned and distressed also about claims that Alister should not have been released from Rockhampton Hospital after completing a trial course of anti-viral medication.

“Alister showed no symptoms that are distinctive of Hendra virus when he was discharged, although he understandably remained anxious - as anyone would in such a situation.

“Based upon the previous pathology of this virus, he was thought to be safe.

“Those who have cared for him and have fought for his life should not be condemned for this.”

Meanwhile the father of one of the three people flown to Brisbane said he was extremely grateful for all the efforts of the health professionals who were looking after his daughter.

Lloyd Webber said his daughter Angela had no complaints with the health department, Rockhampton Hospital or anyone else who has been involved in her care.

Mr Webber said these were terribly worrying times for everyone concerned.

He said Angela was very sick at the moment, but this was related to the five days of anti-viral treatment, with Ribavirin, she underwent.

“This is a very rare condition,” he said.

He said stud owner John Brady had also been very good in supporting his daughter.

Alister would be deeply touched

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