Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

The potential impact of native Australian trypanosome infections on the health of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus)

McInnes, L.M., Gillett, A., Hanger, J., Reid, S.A. and Ryan, U.M.ORCID: 0000-0003-2710-9324 (2011) The potential impact of native Australian trypanosome infections on the health of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus). Parasitology, 138 (7). pp. 873-883.

PDF - Published Version
Download (371kB)
Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


Whole blood collected from koalas admitted to the Australian Zoo Wildlife Hospital (AZWH), Beerwah, QLd, Australia, during late 2006-2009 was tested using trypanosome species-specific 18S rDNA PCRs designed to amplify DNA from Trypanosoma irwini, T. gilletti and T. copemani. Clinical records for each koala sampled were reviewed and age, sex, blood packed cell volume (PCV), body condition, signs of illness, blood loss, trauma, chlamydiosis, bone marrow disease, koala AIDS and hospital admission outcome ('survival'/'non-survival') were correlated with PCR results. Overall 73.8% (439/595) of the koalas were infected with at least 1 species of trypanosome. Trypanosoma irwini was detected in 423/595 (71.1%), T. gilletti in 128/595 (21.5%) and T. copemani in 26/595 (4.4%) of koalas. Mixed infections were detected in 125/595 (21%) with co-infections of T. irwini and T. gilletti (101/595, 17%) being most common. There was a statistical association between infection with T. gilletti with lower PCV values and body condition scores in koalas with signs of chlamydiosis, bone marrow disease or koala AIDS. No association between T. gilletti infection and any indicator of health was observed in koalas without signs of concurrent disease. This raises the possibility that T. gilletti may be potentiating other disease syndromes affecting koalas.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Copyright: © Cambridge University Press 2011
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year