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A virological investigation into declining woylie populations

By C. Pacioni, C.A. Johansen, T.J. Mahony, M.A. O'Dea, I.D. Robertson, A.F. Wayne and T. Ellis

Abstract

The woylie (Bettongia penicillata ogilbyi) is a critically endangered small Australian marsupial that is in a state of accelerated population decline for reasons that are currently unknown. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the involvement of several viral pathogens through strategic serological testing of several wild woylie populations. Testing for antibodies against the Wallal and Warrego serogroup of orbiviruses, Macropod herpesvirus 1 and Encephalomyocarditis virus in woylie sera was undertaken through virus neutralisation tests. Moreover, testing for antibodies against the the alphaviruses Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus and the flaviviruses Kunjin virus and Murray Valley encephalitis virus was undertaken through virus neutralisation tests and ELISA mainly because of the interest in the epidemiology of these important zoonoses as it was considered unlikely to be the cause of the decline. Between 15 and 86 samples were tested for each of the four sites in south-western Australia (Balban, Keninup, Warrup and Karakamia). Results indicated no exposure to any of the viral pathogens investigated, indicating that all populations are currently naïve and may be at risk if these pathogens were to be introduced

Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Year: 2013
OAI identifier: oai:researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au:21395
Provided by: Research Repository
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