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Type: Journal article
Title: Chlamydia pecorum prevalence in South Australian koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations: identification and modelling of a population free from infection
Author: Fabijan, J.
Caraguel, C.
Jelocnik, M.
Polkinghorne, A.
Boardman, W.
Nishimoto, E.
Johnsson, G.
Molsher, R.
Woolford, L.
Timms, P.
Simmons, G.
Hemmatzadeh, F.
Trott, D.
Speight, N.
Citation: Scientific Reports, 2019; 9(1):6261-1-6261-11
Publisher: Springer Nature
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 2045-2322
Statement of
Jessica Fabijan, Charles Caraguel, Martina Jelocnik, Adam Polkinghorne, Wayne S.J. Boardman, Elisa Nishimoto, Greg Johnsson, Robyn Molsher, Lucy Woolford, Peter Timms, Greg Simmons, Farhid Hemmatzadeh, Darren J. Trott, Natasha Speight
Abstract: Chlamydia pecorum is an established and prevalent infection that produces severe clinical disease in many koala populations, contributing to dramatic population declines. In wild South Australian koala populations, C. pecorum occurrence and distribution is unknown. Here, C. pecorum-specific real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) was applied to ocular and urogenital swabs from targeted surveys of wild koalas from the mainland Mount Lofty Ranges (MLR) (n = 75) and Kangaroo Island (KI) (n = 170) populations. Historical data from 13,081 KI koalas (1997-2018) provided additional evidence for assessing the absence of C. pecorum infection. In the MLR population, 46.7% (CI: 35.1-58.6%) of koalas were C. pecorum positive by qPCR but only 4% had grade 3 clinical disease. MLR koala fertility was significantly reduced by C. pecorum infection; all reproductively active females (n = 16) were C. pecorum negative, whereas 85.2% of inactive females (n = 23) were positive (P < 0.001). KI koalas were C. pecorum negative and the population was demonstrated to be free of C. pecorum infection with 95% confidence. C. pecorum is a real threat for the sustainability of the koala and KI is possibly the last isolated, large C. pecorum-free population remaining in Australia. These koalas could provide a safeguard against this serious disease threat to an iconic Australian species.
Rights: © The Author(s) 2019 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
RMID: 0030113250
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-42702-z
Appears in Collections:Animal and Veterinary Sciences publications

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