HHALTER - Horse Owners and HENDRA Virus

A Longitudinal cohort study To Evaluate Risk 

HHALTER is a three-year project funded by the Commonwealth of Australia, the State of New South Wales, the State of Queensland and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation under the National Hendra Virus Research Program.

The overarching goal of the project is to help inform strategies that reduce the transmission of Hendra virus from flying foxes to horses and from horses to humans. This will be achieved by engaging with 'horse people' and ensuring that they are included at the centre of Hendra virus-related policy development and research

At the heart of the HHALTER study is a large and inclusive cohort of horse owners and people involved with horses that we will study over a two-year period. We would like this cohort to include people involved with horses  from all sectors of the horse industry and from all States and Territories. 

The study will investigate factors influencing Hendra virus risk awareness and risk mitigation practices, as well as attitudes and opinions about a range of issues; such as vaccination, media stories, communication, and the actions and policies of government agencies. Five surveys were conducted at six-month intervals over a 24-month period. The first survey took place in November 2012 with the fifth and final survey concluding in December 2014. 

This research program acknowledges that the situation with Hendra virus in Australia is dynamic. Therefore, along with some core content that will remain in the survey unchanged over time (so we can track changes) it will also include examination of current or emerging priority issues that are identified as important to horse owners, industry groups, and government agencies along the way.

Those who took part in our surveys were sent a regular six-monthly feedback in the form of Research Newsletters. These Newsletters provided an overview of some of the earlier surveys' findings along with news about the project and what we have been doing. To date we have sent out four Research Newsletters, with the final newsletter coming soon:

If you have any questions about the HHALTER study or would like further information about the survey findings, please contact the team via email hhalter@westernsydney.edu.au