Tularaemia is an infection caused by the bacteria Francisella tularensis. It is commonly found in a range of wildlife species across the northern hemisphere but, until recently, was believed to be absent from Australian wildlife.
Different subspecies of tularaemia vary in their virulence. A single case of Francisella tularensis novicida was reported in a human in the Northern Territory in 2003. In 2011, two separate cases of F. t. holarctica biovar japonica were diagnosed in two women who had a history which included being scratched and/ or bitten by common ringtail possums in western Tasmania. Testing of a small number of possums from western Tasmania and other areas did not reveal evidence of tularaemia.
In September 2016, tularaemia was detected for the first time in Australian animals, following Next Generation molecular analysis of archived samples, collected from two separate clusters of common ringtail possum deaths that had occurred in NSW in 2002 and 2003. Findings of F. t. holarctica were confirmed by PCR and were found to be genomically very similar to that found in the 2011 Australian human cases. For more information see the following links:
NSW DPI - Biosecurity Bulletins for veterinarians, wildlife carers and public
Wildlife Health Australia - Fact sheet (updated) - Tularaemia and Australian wildlife
Department of Health - Zika Factsheet - the Basics
Queensland Health - Zika virus
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [USA] - Zika Virus
In July 2015 a novel virus was detected in tissues of affected turtles. Further work is being undertaken to characterise the virus, determine its significance in the pathogenesis of the disease and develop further testing capabilities in a range of tissues. M. georgesi is a unique species of freshwater turtle found only in small sections of the Bellinger and Kalang rivers and total numbers are estimated to be extremely low. A small number of healthy M. georgesi were therefore removed from the river for a captive breeding program, and have remained healthy.
[This is a summary of the report in Animal Health Surveillance Quarterly, Volume 20, Issue 3]
NSW DPI – Bellinger River Snapping Turtle Response
Bellingen Shire Council – Bellinger River Snapping Turtles – Latest News
Additional information for NSW can be found at the end of the CVO Bulletin. Links to ABLV information in other jurisdictions are available on the WHA Resources (Expand 'Diseases and disease agents’ in the Categories list, select 'Australian Bat Lyssavirus’ and look for ‘Australian Bat Lyssavirus Resources’ for your state/territory).
NSW DPI - information on Pigeon Paramyxovirus
Agriculture Victoria - information on Pigeon Paramyxovirus
DPIPWE Tasmania - information on Avian Paramyxovirus in Pigeons
PIRSA South Australia - information on Pigeon Paramyxovirus
DAFWA Western Australia - information on Pigeon Paramyxovirus
DAF Queensland - information on avian paramyxovirus in pigeons
Plant toxicity – AHSQ Vol 19 Issue 2 & AHSQ Vol 20 Issue 4
Starvation – AHSQ Vol 20 Issue 3
Parasitism – AHSQ Vol 19 Issue 3
Other/unidentified causes – AHSQ Vol 15 Issue 2 & AHSQ Vol 19 Issue 1
NSW DPI - information on Hendra Virus
Queensland DAF - information on Hendra Virus