Why Are Koalas Suddenly Drinking Extra Water. Australia 's iconic koala has a problem that keeps boomeranging back. About half of Australia's koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are infected with chlamydiosis (aka chlamydia), a disease caused by the chlamydia bacterium … The antibiotic doxycycline was effectively able to cure koalas with chlamydia (or bring their infections under control) in 97 per cent of cases in a study conducted by Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and the University of the Sunshine Coast. What's more, a number of alternative treatments are possible, Dahlhausen notes. A new DNA test to detect chlamydia infection in koalas which can be run in the field and gives on-the-spot results within 30 minutes has been developed in a … Studies show that both have likely been with Koalas for thousands of years. Koalas also must increasingly cope with an unreliable natural environment, such as drought brought on by climate change and the building of highways, which forces them out of trees and into the way of cars and predators. It causes blindness and infertility in koalas - … For over two decades, scientists have brought wild koalas into wildlife hospitals to treat their chlamydia with antibiotics. (Read how super-gonorrhea is becoming more resistant to drugs.). She found that the presence of an unnamed bacterium, closely related to a known tannin degrader, Lonepinella koalarum, was a significant factor in whether a koala survives antibiotic treatment. But scientists now suspect that a virus in the same family as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) could be the culprit, according to a study published online in the March issue of the Journal of Virology. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, “One of the issues of the current treatment is that normal antibiotics kill all the good bacteria, or the microbiome, that help koalas … Chlamydia affects male and female koalas, and even the little ones called joeys - who pick it up suckling from their mothers in the pouch. Surveys of records from treatment facilities found that chlamydia was the most lethal of all diseases affecting the animals, second only to injury from cars as the most frequent cause of koala death. Photograph by Doug Gimesy, Nat Geo Image Collection, As Koalas Suffer From Chlamydia, A New Clue For Treatment, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/04/animals-disease-health-koalas-australia.html, considers the fuzzy mammal vulnerable to extinction, recent study investigating the microbiomes of koalas throughout the course of antibiotic treatment, super-gonorrhea is becoming more resistant to drugs. In some parts of Queensland, between 1994 and 2016, the koala population declined 80 percent. Genetic evidence from the chlamydia bacteria suggests that koalas were infected by the disease through transmission from livestock (specifically sheep). This was especially true for the microbe Lonepinella koalarum, which is known for its ability to break down tannin, according to the study. All KI koalas tested negatively for Chlamydia and no disease was observed. In koalas, chlamydia’s ravages are extreme, leading to severe inflammation, massive cysts and scarring of the reproductive tract. Please refresh the page and try again. A new DNA test to detect chlamydia infection in koalas which can be run in the field and gives on-the-spot results within 30 minutes has been developed in a research collaboration between QUT and University of Queensland (UQ) researchers. The pap may allow the koala's gut microbes to digest otherwise toxic tannins in eucalyptus, the species' main food source. Researchers always knew koalas contract chlamydia, but until now they had no idea how sick the animals could get from the infection. Visit our corporate site. As in humans, chlamydia in koalas is spread via sex, as well as from mothers their newborns. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. Another leading killer of Australia's endearing koalas is chlamydia — a sexually-transmitted debilitating bacterial infection "that is wiping these animals out," according to Corwin.
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