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Salmonella in free-ranging quokkas (Setonix brachyurus) from Rottnest Island and the mainland of Western Australia

Martínez-Pérez, P., Hyndman, T.H. and Fleming, P.A.ORCID: 0000-0002-0626-3851 (2020) Salmonella in free-ranging quokkas (Setonix brachyurus) from Rottnest Island and the mainland of Western Australia. Animals, 10 (4). Article 585.

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Salmonella is a genus of Gram-negative, motile, and facultative anaerobic bacteria with a worldwide distribution that contaminates multiple substrates (vegetation, food, soil, and water) and inhabits the gastrointestinal tract of birds, reptiles, and mammals, including humans. Rottnest Island is a popular tourist destination and is abundantly inhabited by quokkas (Setonix brachyurus), a charismatic small wallaby. Current data on the association between Salmonella and quokkas on Rottnest Island are outdated by approximately 30 years. Additionally, previous studies on quokkas on this island and mainland Western Australia did not perform physical examinations or any diagnostic tests. The aim of the project was to assess the prevalence of Salmonella spp. in quokkas from Rottnest Island and mainland Western Australia and correlate the presence of the bacterium with the health of the animal. Ninety-two quokkas from Rottnest Island (n = 71) and populations on the mainland (n = 21) were screened for Salmonella, and a prevalence of 47.9% and 4.8%, respectively, was determined. A total of 16 serovars were identified from 37 isolates; five of these serovars had previously not been described in the quokka. Salmonella appeared to have an effect on the haematology and blood chemistry of quokkas on Rottnest Island consistent with subclinical salmonellosis. The health of Rottnest Island quokkas, and their potential impact on the health of the visitors to the island, should continue to be monitored carefully.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education
Publisher: MDPI
Copyright: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
United Nations SDGs: Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
Goal 15: Life on Land
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