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Preliminary investigation into the prevalence of mucormycosis in the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) in three catchments in north-west Tasmania

Macgregor, J.W., Holyoake, C.S., Munks, S.A., Robertson, I.D.ORCID: 0000-0002-4255-4752 and Warren, K.S.ORCID: 0000-0002-9328-2013 (2010) Preliminary investigation into the prevalence of mucormycosis in the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) in three catchments in north-west Tasmania. Australian Veterinary Journal, 88 (5). pp. 190-196.

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Objective: To investigate the distribution and prevalence of mucormycosis in platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) from the Inglis, Emu and Black-Detention catchment areas in north-west Tasmania. Procedure: A field study was performed and resulted in the examination of 44 wild platypuses; in addition, one dead platypus and two live platypuses were examined after they were independently submitted to a local veterinary clinic. Results: No cases of mucormycosis were conclusively diagnosed. One platypus with signs consistent with those previously described in cases of mucormycosis was captured in the Emu River catchment. However, laboratory tests did not provide a definitive diagnosis for the lesion. Two platypuses from the Inglis catchment area had signs very similar to those previously described in cases of mucormycosis, but laboratory tests found Corynebacterium ulcerans to be the likely cause of the cutaneous ulcers on one of these platypuses and an unidentified fungal agent to be the cause of a cutaneous nodule in the other. Conclusions: These findings do not prove that mucormycosis is absent from the populations studied. However, they may indicate that the prevalence of disease is low. The possibility that Mucor amphibiorum is present in a subclinical form in platypuses, or infecting another reservoir, is not excluded. The findings also suggest that caution should be exercised when diagnosing mucormycosis based on clinical findings alone and raise the possibility that some cases may have been incorrectly diagnosed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Copyright: © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 Australian Veterinary Association
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