The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #141448   Message #3256093
Posted By: Sandra in Sydney
13-Nov-11 - 07:46 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Goodbye Blinky Bill (John Williamson)
Subject: RE: Blinky Bill John Williamson?
Koala Research - Koala Chlamydiosis & Koala Retrovirus

Koala Chlamydiosis

This broad project involves collaboration with research teams at the Queensland University of Technology, University of Sydney and the University of Queensland. It aims to determine the most effective treatments for chlamydiosis in koalas; to determine the role of the koala retrovirus (KoRV) in the development of chlamydial disease, and to provide better prognostic indicators for clinicians treating the disease.

Chlamydiosis is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is endemic in most koala populations in Australia. It causes a variety of diseases including blindness, infertility, urinary tract infection and pneumonia. Nearly one half of all admissions of wild koalas to rehabilitation centres are due to chlamydial disease. As one of the key threatening processes affecting the survival of koalas in the wild, a better understanding of this debilitating disease is a high priority for conservation research.

Koala Retrovirus

This is an ongoing collaborative project with the University of Queensland examining the role of the koala retrovirus in leukaemia, immunodeficiency syndrome and related diseases in koalas. The virus was isolated and genetically sequenced in 1999 by the brilliant Dr Jon Hanger, providing a basis for further research into its role in koala disease. The diseases caused by this virus are invariably fatal, and are very common in both captive and wild koalas. They represent one of the key threatening processes affecting the long-term survival of koalas in the wild in Australia. Current research streams aim to determine the role that KoRV plays in chlamydial disease in koalas, and to determine the distribution of the virus across different koala populations in Australia.

Use of the anaesthetic agent alfaxalone (Alfaxan CD-RTU ®) in wildlife
Alfaxan CD-RTU is a relatively recently released anaesthetic registered for use in domestic cats and dogs in Australia. It shows great promise as a safe and reliable anaesthetic in a wide range of wild animals including reptiles, birds and mammals, with some significant advantages over agents commonly used in wildlife. The Australian Wildlife Hospital, which treats some 3000 wild animals every year, has been providing feedback to both the manufacturer and other veterinarians on the use of Alfaxan in wildlife.

Chlamydiae shedding by koalas

This collaborative project with the Chlamydia research group at the Queensland University of Technology examined the shedding of chlamydial organisms by koalas affected by chlamydial disease. Using a powerful molecular technique called real-time polymerase chain reaction, the shedding of infectious chlamydial particles could be accurately quantified over the course of treatment. This allowed critical analysis of the efficacy of current treatment regimes for chlamydiosis and determination of the infectiousness of koalas following treatment. The results confirmed that the current treatment regime used at the Australian Wildlife Hospital was very effective in eliminating the organism from infected koalas. This means that when koalas are released back into the wild following treatment they are no longer infectious to other koalas. The results of this study will be reported in scientific literature in the near future.