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The author provides an account of the discovery of a previously undescribed disease of horses and a description of the studies involved in determining the aetiology of the disease. The causative virus, now named Hendra virus (HeV), is the reference virus for a proposed new genus within the virus family Paramyxoviridae. The virus is a lethal zoonotic agent able to cause natural disease in humans and horses and experimentally induced disease in cats, guinea-pigs and mice. The virus also naturallypmid:11189712 fatcat:pkf2zo26vbfehj3mlaqxhchei4