Widow campaigns for Hendra vaccine
ROCKHAMPTON Hendra virus widow Linda Rodgers feels like she’s got the whole of the region behind her as she campaigns to raise money for a crucial vaccine trial.
Mrs Rodgers, whose husband, Alister, died from the virus in August last year, yesterday said as soon as Rockhampton people realised who she was they asked if there was anything they could do to help.
Details of her campaign come after the state’s latest outbreak where a horse infected with the virus was put down last Monday at a Tewantin property, on the Sunshine Coast.
Preliminary test results for six of the nine people who may have been exposed to the deadly virus came back clear on Friday.
The other three will have to wait until this afternoon before knowing the results of their tests.
Linda is desperately trying to raise $600,000 to fund a breakthrough vaccine on horses.
She knows the anxiety families of those waiting for the test results are enduring.
“We can truly appreciate what the families are going through,” Linda said.
She said it was concerning that the virus was showing up more frequently.
Four people have died as a result of the virus over the past 16 years. The Tewantin horse is the 41st to die since 1994.
The CSIRO is working on a horse Hendra vaccine that it hopes to have commercially available within five years.
So far the Queensland government has refused to commit to the trial.
Yesterday, the Opposition called on the State Government to fork out the money.
The vaccination could protect up to 200,000 horses.
Linda said the cost of the trial had to be weighed against the potential ongoing cost of treatment for those who caught catch the virus.
Those who survived faced the high risk of being permanently disabled and needing high ongoing treatment costs.
She said she was getting plenty of support locally.
“Rockhampton, and Central Queensland, has really cradled us through a major crisis in our lives,” Linda said.
“We have had enormous support.
“So many people we don’t know have gone out of their way to help.”
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