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Microbiology Australia Microbiology Australia
Issue 1

Veterinary Microbiology

Vertical Transmission

Happy New Year and welcome to the first issue of Microbiology Australia for 2013, the first with our new publishing partner, CSIRO Publishing. I would like to take this opportunity to express the Society’s warmest thanks to Cambridge Publishing for their many years of excellent service. The transition has been a smooth one and we are genuinely excited about the new online format that has already lead to significant improvements in both accessibility and flexibility. This flexibility will allow us to more easily respond to reader suggestions – p...

Veterinary microbiology

Veterinary microbiology has a proud history in Australia dating back to the late 19th Century with the work of the Pasteur Institute of Sydney and McGarvie Smith on anthrax in NSW, Kendall in Victoria carrying out TB testing of cattle, Pound and his work on tick fever in Qld. In subsequent decades luminaries such as Albiston, Bull, Bennetts, Oxer, Sneddon, Turner and Carne carried out significant investigations into livestock diseases. Many others followed them. Where is veterinary microbiology heading in 2013 and beyond? In this iss...

Fighting transboundary animal diseases: a battle for global food security

Previously our team discussed the role of One Health in understanding and controlling zoonotic diseases in Australia 1 . While zoonotic diseases threaten the well-being of animals and humans and/or public confidence in food safety directly, diseases that have serious negative impact on food security through hampering various stages of our food system (from farm to fork) are also central to the role of One Health in this century. Eradication or control of these animal diseases can help ensure global food security. Interestingly many of these dis...

'Gone in the back legs'

Neural angiostrongyliasis and neosporosis are the two most common infectious causes of spinal cord disease in young dogs. The former is caused by migration of Angiostrongylus cantonensis (rat lungworm) larvae following ingestion of mollusc intermediate hosts, while the latter is caused by the apicomplexan protozoan Neospora caninum, acquired transplacentally, during parturition or in the neonatal period. This article gives the reader the perspective of a veterinarian confronted with the diagnosis and treatment of these two potenti...

The changing roles of veterinary laboratories in Australia

Over the past 30 years there has been a major restructure of government veterinary laboratory services in Australia coinciding with, but not directly related to, the proliferation of private veterinary laboratories. State and territory government services have been increasingly centralised with greater focus on surveillance for exotic and emerging animal diseases and a shift away from animal health research. Private pathology services have flourished as veterinary practitioners increasingly value laboratory support for their clinical assessment...

Foot-and-mouth disease: a persistent threat

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a viral infection of cloven-hoofed animals. It is considered one of the most infectious viral diseases known and is feared for its ability to spread rapidly and cause widespread outbreaks in domestic livestock under intensive farming conditions. Remarkably, it does not cause high mortality, but morbidity can reach 100%. The disease has been eradicated from large parts of the world, and countries that are free of FMD take extreme precautions to prevent its reintroduction. For this reason FMD has been called an eco...

Aquatic animals; endemic and exotic bacterial pathogens

The detection and identification of bacterial pathogens from fish and other aquatic animals presents particular challenges with regards to transportation of samples to the laboratory, knowledge of media and growth requirements, and detection of endemic or exotic pathogens. This article highlights the challenges in this specialised area of microbiology with a focus on an endemic and an exotic disease.

Vets versus pets: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Australian animals and their doctors

Humans and animals intimately sharing the same environment will inevitably be exposed to each other’s microbiota. When one of those organisms is a drug-resistant pathogen then logistics of disease prevention are raised to a new level of complexity. For this reason the study of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in man and animals is now a priority. Recent research has demonstrated the ease with which MRSA crosses species barriers and the grave potential for MRSA to cause serious disease in animals and man has been well es...

Bacteriophage therapy

Bacteriophages (phages) are viruses that infect only bacteria. They exhibit one of two types of life cycle; lytic (virulent) or lysogenic (temperate). They are non-toxic to other organisms, infecting, and in the case of lytic phages, multiplying rapidly within the bacterial host, ultimately killing it. Lysogenic phages can remain in a quiescent state where the genome is integrated into the bacterial chromosome or exist as a plasmid. Some enhance bacterial virulence by encoding genes for toxins or antibiotic resistance. Lytic phages are preferre...

An update on the MLST scheme for Pasteurella multocida

Pasteurella multocida is a cause of economically important diseases in almost all domestic livestock species, as well as wildlife. While a range of typing methods have traditionally been used, the development of a Multi-Locus Sequence Typing (MLST) scheme in 2010 represented the first standardised, sequence based, Web supported typing scheme. The initial scheme (termed the RIRDC MLST scheme) was based on 63 avian isolates from diseased Australian poultry and three international reference strains, which formed 29 Sequence Types (STs). The...

Intestinal Spirochaetes and Brachyspiral colitis

The 'intestinal spirochaetes' are a group of anaerobic bacteria assigned to various species in the genus Brachyspira. They inhabit the large intestines of birds and animals – but also may be found in human beings. These bacteria first came to prominence in the early 1970s when a spirochaete named Treponema hyodysenteriae (now Brachyspira hyodysenteriae) was shown to be the agent of swine dysentery, a colonic infection of pigs that is endemic in many countries and is of considerable economic significance. Since the initial d...

Serine proteases and ovine footrot

Footrot is a disease that is of importance to the wool and sheep meat industries. The principle causative agent of ovine footrot is the anaerobic bacterium, Dichelobacter nodosus, virulent isolates of which secrete three closely related subtilisin-like proteases, AprV2, AprV5 and BprV. By constructing isogenic mutants and carrying out virulence tests in sheep it was shown that AprV2 is a major virulence factor of D. nodosus. Structural analysis of AprV2 has revealed that it contains several novel loops, one of which appears to act...

Bovine ephemeral fever: cyclic resurgence of a climate-sensitive vector-borne disease

Bovine ephemeral fever is one of Australia's most important viral diseases of cattle. It is caused by a rhabdovirus that is transmitted by haematophagous insects, most likely mosquitoes, producing seasonal epizootics that can have serious impacts on beef and dairy production. Since 2008, extreme summer rainfall and extensive flooding have provided ideal conditions for the emergence of large mosquito populations, accompanied by successive extensive epizootics of bovine ephemeral fever. Climate change predictions of the increasing intensity and f...

Multi-drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria

The increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria is a serious concern not only for humans but also companion animals. Recent clinical attention has focused on the increasing frequency of Gram-negative pathogens responsible for hospital-acquired infections. In this group, extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) and carbapenemase producing Enterobacteriaceae, in particular E. coli and K. pneumoniae, as well as carbapenemase producing A. baumannii, have caused major challenges in the past decade. Thes...

Michael Desmond Connole: Veterinary Mycologist

Veterinary mycology is often a neglected field in veterinary medicine with many veterinarians treating infections empirically, or failing to send samples to diagnostic laboratories for identification. Few researchers undertake projects in this field. However, between 1968 and 1992 there was a major veterinary mycology laboratory in Australia. This laboratory was established at the Animal Research Institute, Yeerongpilly by Michael Desmond Connole known to friends and colleagues as “Des”. Des was actively engaged in research, training, diagnosis...

The Yersinia story: A proof of the Laurentia and Australia continents link

Predominant virulent European Yersinia enterocolitica 4/O:3 produce two types of β-lactamases, enzyme A and enzyme B and belong to phage type VIII (4/O:3/VIII). Y. enterocolitica 4/O:3 isolated in Canada and Australia are identical producing only enzyme A and belonging to the same phage type IXb (4/O:3/IXb/A). Their failure to express enzyme B is due to same defect in ampC gene. Rare European Y. enterocolitica 4/O:3 strains lacking enzyme B all have the same defect in ampC gene which is different from tha...

Tribute to Nancy Millis

Professor Emeritus Nancy Millis AC.MBE.FAA.FTSE, died on the 29th of September at the age of 90. Nancy’s long life had been filled with exemplary service over a broad range of activities affecting her discipline Microbiology, Higher Education and the wider community.

Volume 34 Number 1

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