Hendra virus : more research needed (S0133122)

Module 5 Blog Topic:  You are acting as a public relations practitioner for (fictitious) non-profit charity “Flying Fox Appreciation Agency”. From the details here http://www.abc.net.au/news/specials/hendra-virus/  –  Write ONE key message. (What is the specific aspect of Hendra virus that you want to promote in the context of this charity?) Who is your target audience/public? Why? 

On behalf of the Flying Fox Appreciation Agency I would like to promote a specific aspect of the potentially deadly Hendra virus – the need for more research. Having said that, the target audiences for this blog and those that could benefit from future Hendra virus research could be anyone, not obviously just horse owners or those that live in areas where fruit bats are common (Department of Health 2012).

The purpose of this blog is not to create fear or exacerbate this virus’s capabilities – instead this blog encourages the public not to undermine what the Hendra virus has proven to accomplish in recent years; fruit bats have been found to be hosts which in turn has led to the death of multiple humans as well as countless horses, and also in 2011 a dog was also found to contract the virus. Many would agree that one infection or death from a virus is cause enough for great concern and further research. Leading researchers have clarified that more studies are needed into the Hendra virus strain itself, how it transfers, the immunity present to fruit bats, how it has evolved to somehow kill more and affect more species in recent years than cases previously reported (Preez 2012). It is evident public awareness, the protection and ongoing research especially of the fruit bat species is vital in understanding the Hendra virus (Middleton, Pallister, Klein & Feng 2014).

ABC News online report “CSIRO scientists suggest it is a more stable virus unlike strains of the human flu, with change and adapt”. From the onset this statement seems reassuring but still they only ‘suggest’ it is a more stable virus. The fact that more and more species are getting affected by the virus proves change has begun (Middleton, Pallister, Klein & Feng 2014). Research has led to a Hendra virus vaccine now available for horses, more research hopefully could lead to prevention and cure for every species.

Department of Health 2012, Hendra virus: National guidelines for public health units, viewed 10 November 2014,   http://quitnow.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cdna-song-hendra.htm Middleton D, Pallister J,

Klein R & Feng R 2014, ‘Hendra Virus Vaccine, a One Health Approach to Protect Horse, Human and Environmental Health’, Emerging Infectious Journal, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 372-379, viewed 10 November 2014.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3944873/ Preez R 2012, ‘The science and mystery of Hendra virus’, ABC News, viewed 8 November 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/news/specials/hendra-virus/


Tris Kerslake (Lecturer) – COMM11110 Public Relations @ CQUniversity
Monday, 2 February 2015
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