Most koalas in Japan carry leukemia virus: report

Apr 12, 2009
Nearly 90 percent of koalas in Japanese zoos are infected with a virus believed to cause leukemia in the marsupials, a report said

Nearly 90 percent of koalas in Japanese zoos are infected with a virus believed to cause leukemia in the marsupials, a report said.

Researchers at the Institute for Virus Research Kyoto University and the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums tested the blood of 50 of the 62 koalas kept in Japan, the Daily Yomiuri said.

The koala retrovirus -- believed to cause and -- was detected in all 39 northeastern koalas, and in four of 11 southern koalas, the English version of the mass-circulation Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

There are two main subspecies of wild koala -- the northeast Australian koala and the south Australian koala.

The retrovirus poses no danger to humans, but there is concern that it could lead to a dramatic decline in the number of koalas in captivity in Japan, the daily said.

While the sources of the infections were not identified, it is thought most likely they already were infected before being imported from Australia, it said.

Scientists say it is difficult to prevent koalas becoming infected with the as it infects the reproductive cells of the koalas and is passed down to their offspring, the daily said.

Of the 38 born in Japan, 36 were found to have been infected, it added.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Vaccine for koala chlamydia close

Jul 17, 2008

Professors Peter Timms and Ken Beagley from Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) said the vaccinated koalas, which are at Brisbane's Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, were mounting ...

Vaccine trials inject hope into koala's future

Jul 16, 2007

The first Australian trials of a vaccine developed by Queensland University of Technology that could save Australia's iconic koala from contracting chlamydia are planned to begin later this year.

Research finds koalas are no dwarves

Dec 11, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- University of Queensland research has found one of Australia's iconic animals is not a shadow of its former self.

A koala's guide to the treetop buffet

May 26, 2005

The way that koalas in the wild distinguish between thousands of types of potentially nauseating tree leaves when eating has been revealed by ANU researchers. In the same way that humans learn to avoid foo ...

Orphaned koala becomes first-time mother

Nov 14, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- An orphaned baby koala that was flown 1200km to be raised in captivity has recently become a first-time mum, following her successful return to the wild.

Recommended for you

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

18 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher

Apr 17, 2014

One day about eight years ago, Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, and her father were on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama when they stumbled ...

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises

Apr 17, 2014

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but re ...

Fear of the cuckoo mafia

Apr 17, 2014

If a restaurant owner fails to pay the protection money demanded of him, he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like these are seldom required, however, as fear of the consequences is enough to ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...