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Microbiology Australia Microbiology Australia
Issue 2

Vertical Transmission, June 2005

Congratulations are in order. I am pleased to announce that Associate Professor Bill Rawlinson from the Department of Microbiology at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney is the recipient of the 2004 Fenner Prize. A/Prof Rawlinson is a medical graduate who went on to obtain his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1993. He then returned to Australia to take up his position at the Prince of Wales Hospital, where he is currently Senior Medical Virologist within South East Health Laboratories. His research has been very productive and has inv...

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Wildlife health in Australia

The intention of this issue is to improve awareness of the role of wildlife health in human health, biodiversity, tourism and agro-economy in Australia. The papers have been selected to highlight the importance of wildlife diseases with an emphasis on diseases with zoonotic potential, those that have threatened native fauna through causing population declines, or those that may threaten Australia?s trading status.

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Emerging wildlife diseases ? impact on trade, human health and the environment

Emerging wildlife diseases can occur anywhere in the world and the consequences can be severe. The recent epidemics of SARS, West Nile virus and avian influenza demonstrate the global importance of emerging pathogens and the important role of wildlife in initiating or maintaining such diseases. These recent epidemics and many other diseases have also highlighted the importance of creating new and more effective partnerships between government departments, animal industries and the community. It is important that a country has a system that is a...

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Wildlife health surveillance in Australia

It is now recognised that those countries which conduct disease surveillance of their wild animal populations are more likely to detect the presence of infectious and zoonotic diseases and to swiftly adopt counter measures. The surveillance and monitoring of disease outbreaks in wildlife populations is particularly relevant in these days of rapid human and animal translocation, when the contact between wild and domestic animals is close and the threat of bioterrorist attack is very real. A major advantage of an efficient disease monitoring prog...

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Volant viruses: a concern to bats, humans and other animals

Bats have a long and intimate association with viral diseases. There may be much to be learned from examining the disease ecology in this group of animals which would be to the benefit of humans, domestic animals and other wildlife species.

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Neuroangiostrongyliasis: disease in wildlife and humans

Angiostrongyliasis is a neurological disease caused by the rat lungworm, Angiostrongylus cantonensis, one of the most catholic nematode parasites of vertebrates. Infection has occurred accidentally in humans, a broad spectrum of eutherian and marsupial mammals, and recently in birds.

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Chlamydial infection and disease in the koala

Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular bacterial pathogens able to infect and cause serious disease in humans, birds and a remarkably wide range of warm and cold-blooded animals. The family Chlamydiaciae have traditionally been defined by their unique biphasic developmental cycle, involving the interconversion between an extracellular survival form, the elementary body and an intracellular replicative form, the reticulate body. However, as with many other bacteria, molecular approaches including 16SrRNA sequence are becoming the standard of choi...

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Cryptococcosis in Australian Wildlife

Cryptococcosis is the most important systemic fungal disease to affect mammalian hosts in Australia. Although recent taxonomic developments have somewhat confused the nomenclature of the causative agents, it is now generally accepted that the Cryptococcus neoformans complex may be divided into two separate species, namely C. neoformans and C. gattii.

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Kangaroo Cryptosporidium: Is it a wildlife disease?

Cryptosporidium, an apicomplexan protozoan parasite, is a causative agent of enteric disease in a broad range of hosts. The parasite has been identified in greater than 170 vertebrates, including 13 marsupial species. Cryptosporidium is well known to Sydney residents, who were forced to boil their drinking water during the 1998 Sydney water crisis when high levels of Cryptosporidium oocysts (the infective stage) were detected in the drinking water supply. During the crisis it was not ascertained if the oocysts were of a type infectious to human...

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The impact of ticks and tick-borne diseases on native animal species in Australia

Ectoparasites are a leading cause of arthropod-borne disease in animals, and humans. Defined as arthropods which spend an entire portion of their life cycle on the host, ectoparasites include the ticks and mites (Acarina), and the lice and fleas of the insect family. Their role in human disease transmission has been well documented, as has their importance in agricultural and domestic animals. Little however has been done to comprehensively examine the role these organisms may play in disease transmission and their impact upon native Australian...

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Sarcoptes scabiei: an important exotic pathogen of wombats

Sarcoptes scabiei is a parasitic astigmatid mite, which causes scabies in people and sarcoptic mange in mammals. Importantly, it is an emerging disease in wildlife throughout the world. The mite originates from a human ancestor and is thought to have spread to domestic and then free-living animals. Based on the recent emergence of sarcoptic mange in Australian wildlife and Aboriginal communities, it is thought that Sarcoptes scabiei was probably introduced to Australia by the Europeans and their animals. The mitochondrial genetic similarity of ...

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Epidemic viral diseases of wildlife ? sudden death in tammar wallabies, blind kangaroos, herpesviruses in pilchards ? what next?

In Australia the impact of European settlement on the indigenous human population and on flora and fauna is inevitably the subject of ongoing speculation. Major changes have occurred as a result of urban and rural developments and the introduction of agricultural practices which collectively impact on the environment and ecosystems especially through land clearing, water use and modification of water courses and water catchments. From both a human and animal health perspective, the changes as viewed by the general public are perhaps not always ...

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Amphibian disease and declines: Chytridiomycosis

Chytridiomycosis is caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a unique fungal organism of the phylum Chytridiomycota, a large group of ubiquitous fungi better known as silent digesters of organic waste or as parasites of nematodes and unicellular organisms such as pollen or algae. Chytr is the Greek root for earthen pot, Batracho ? frog and dendrobates the genus of frogs from which it was first formally described in 1999. When viewed with a scanning electron microscope it is easy to understand the origins of the name chytrid given to this group...

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Anti-Brucella antibodies in pinnipeds of Australia

Brucella are Gram-negative intracellular bacteria capable of infecting a range of species including man. Currently divided into six species based mainly on differences in pathogenicity and host preference, the infections produced are characteristically localised in the reproductive organs and may cause abortions in some species. Exposure occurs through contact with infected animals and animal products such as unpasteurised dairy products and meat. The disease is endemic throughout many areas of the world.

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ASM Affairs, June 2005

Emerging Microbiologists; Standing Committee on clinical microbiology;

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