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Tompkins D.,Landcare Research | Johansen C.,University of Western Australia | Jakob-Hoff R.,New Zealand Center for Conservation Medicine | Pulford D.,Investigation and Diagnostic Centres | And 2 more authors.
Western Pacific surveillance and response journal : WPSAR | Year: 2013

METHODS: Common bird species were targeted for blood sampling during two southern hemisphere summers. Sera from each period (n = 185 and n = 693) were screened in an epitope blocking enzyme immunoassay for flavivirus antibody detection. In the first season, testing for antibodies to specific alphaviruses was conducted on samples with sufficient sera (n = 22). In the second season, blood clots (n = 544) were screened for viral presence by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for alphaviral and flaviviral RNA, and virus isolation (n = 146) was conducted.RESULTS: Flavivirus antibodies were detected in 13 species, and one Australasian gannet (Morus serrator) from one site was positive for antibodies to Ross River virus. PCR tests and virus isolation were all negative.DISCUSSION: Evidence for flavivirus exposure in seabirds at Kaikoura Peninsula and Cape Kidnappers suggests that viruses isolated from seabirds and associated ticks in New Zealand in the late 1970s are still present. Evidence for flavivirus exposure in passerines at Kaikoura Peninsula, Cape Kidnappers and Mokoia Island is novel. The Ross River virus finding is also new and supports the hypothesis that migratory seabirds are an import pathway for such agents into New Zealand.INTRODUCTION: Given the significant burden that emerging infectious diseases place on global economies and public health, the monitoring and mitigation of, and early response to, potential infectious diseases are of the highest priority. The objective of this study was to survey for known and other potential arboviral zoonoses in multiple bird species at four locations in New Zealand. Source

Chatterton J.,New Zealand Center for Conservation Medicine | Chatterton J.,Animal Health Center | Unwin S.,Animal Health Center | Rehman I.U.,University of Sheffield | Bridson-Walton J.M.,University of Liverpool
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2015

A 40-yr-old female chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) presented with intermittent, short-duration episodes of nonspecific clinical signs that included lethargy and reduced responsiveness to external stimuli. Clinical examination and diagnostics suggested obstructive hepatic disease, which was confirmed by subsequent ultrasonographic examination. During routine laparotomy, a biliary calculus was removed from the distal common bile duct and the gallbladder was removed, which resulted in complete clinical recovery. The biliary calculus was analyzed as a mixed composition of predominantly cholesterol, bilirubin, and calcium. © Copyright 2015 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. Source

Forsyth M.B.,New Zealand Center for Conservation Medicine | Morris A.J.,Diagnostic Medlab | Sinclair D.A.,Auckland University of Technology | Pritchard C.P.,New Zealand Center for Conservation Medicine
Zoonoses and Public Health | Year: 2012

Investigation was undertaken to assess the occurrence of zoonotic infection among staff at Auckland Zoological Park, New Zealand, in 1991, 2002 and 2010. Serial cross-sectional health surveys in 1991, 2002 and 2010 comprising a health questionnaire, and serological, immunological and microbiological analysis for a range of potential zoonotic infections were performed. Laboratory results for zoo animals were also reviewed for 2004-2010 to assess the occurrence of potential zoonotic infections. Veterinary clinic, animal handler, grounds, maintenance and administrative staff participated in the surveys, with 49, 42 and 46 participants in the 1991, 2002 and 2010 surveys, respectively (29% of total zoo staff in 2010). A small number of staff reported work-related infections, including erysipelas (1), giardiasis (1) and campylobacteriosis (1). The seroprevalence of antibodies to hepatitis A virus and Toxoplasma gondii closely reflected those in the Auckland community. No carriage of hepatitis B virus (HBV) was detected, and most of those with anti-HBV antibodies had been vaccinated. Few staff had serological evidence of past leptospiral infection. Three veterinary clinic staff had raised Chlamydophila psittaci antibodies, all <1:160 indicating past exposure. Two staff (in 1991) had asymptomatic carriage of Giardia lamblia and one person (in 2010) had a dermatophyte infection. After 1991, positive tests indicating exposure to Mycobacterium tuberculosis were <10%, comparable to the general New Zealand population. Zoo animals had infections with potential zoonotic agents, including G. lamblia, Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp. and T. gondii, although the occurrence was low. Zoonotic agents pose an occupational risk to zoo workers. While there was evidence of some zoonotic transmission at Auckland Zoo, this was uncommon and risks appear to be adequately managed under current policies and procedures. Nevertheless, ongoing assessment of risk factors is needed as environmental, human and animal disease and management factors change. Policies and procedures should be reviewed periodically in conjunction with disease monitoring results for both animals and staff to minimise zoonotic transmission. © 2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH. Source

Shaw S.D.,New Zealand Center for Conservation Medicine | Shaw S.D.,James Cook University | Bishop P.J.,University of Otago | Skerratt L.F.,James Cook University | And 2 more authors.
New Zealand Journal of Zoology | Year: 2014

Surveys were distributed to New Zealand land users in 1998 and 2008 to acquire information about New Zealand frogs with the aim of compiling and mapping their distribution and inferred population trends without costly and time-consuming field surveys. The overall frog population trend was reported as declining, with possible causes reported as an increase in agriculture, an increase in the distribution of predatory fish and disease. The resultant maps could be used for four main purposes: 1) to identify regions where Litoria populations are known to occur, which can be eliminated when considering suitable regions for translocation of Leiopelma; 2) to identify growing or stable populations of Litoria species, which may assist future disease surveys, population monitoring and to identify sources of genetic material that may serve as an Ark for declining Australian populations; 3) to highlight populations that are in decline to enable effective targeting of detailed disease studies; and 4) to approximate the stability of amphibian populations in the absence of more accurate, but costly, scientific monitoring. © 2013 The Royal Society of New Zealand. Source

Shaw S.D.,James Cook University | Shaw S.D.,New Zealand Center for Conservation Medicine | Berger L.,James Cook University | Bell S.,James Cook University | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2014

Knowledge of baseline cutaneous bacterial microbiota may be useful in interpreting diagnostic cultures from captive sick frogs and as part of quarantine or pretranslocation disease screening. Bacteria may also be an important part of innate immunity against chytridiomycosis, a fungal skin disease caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). In February 2009, 92 distinct bacterial isolates from the ventral skin of 64 apparently healthy Leiopelma archeyi and Leiopelma hochstetteri native frogs from the Coromandel and Whareorino regions in New Zealand were identified using molecular techniques. The most-common isolates identified in L. archeyi were Pseudomonas spp. and the most common in L. hochstetteri were Flavobacterium spp. To investigate the possible role of bacteria in innate immunity, a New Zealand strain of Bd (Kaikorai Valley-Lewingii-2008-SDS1) was isolated and used in an in vitro challenge assay to test for inhibition by bacteria. One bacterial isolate, a Flavobacterium sp., inhibited growth of Bd. These results imply that diverse cutaneous bacteria are present and may play a role in the innate defense in Leiopelma against pathogens, including Bd, and are a starting point for further investigation. © Wildlife Disease Association 2014. Source

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