Bacterial infectious diseases, also common in humans, are also common among koalas, affecting half of the animals in some populations. Chlamydia can cause acute conjunctivitis and cystitis, and in some cases blindness or infertility, vaccinated purse, one of Australia’s iconic animals, told the Australian Wildlife Zoo Hospital.
400 infected koalas receive one dose of the vaccine per person, which is then inserted into a tiny microchip for tracking and return to the wild. Although chlamydia, which can be passed from a mother to her newborn young, can usually be treated with antibiotics, sometimes infections are so severe that the animals’ lives cannot be saved.
Biologists at Sunny Beach University (USC), which is leading the vaccination, say the vaccine could help the cysts grow and survive. The vaccine has been tested in a total of 200 koalas in eight small trials so far, both in captivity and in the wild, with the current vaccination being the first large-scale trial.
If the vaccine proves successful, it will be used in other animal hospitals in Queensland and New South Wales. Experts estimate that at least 60,000 koalas were killed in the major Australian bushfires in 2019-20.
(Cover image: ROLAND WEIHRAUCH / DPA / dpa Picture-Alliance via AFP)
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