Melbourne Veterinary School - Research Publications

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    The genome sequence of the European golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos chrysaetos Linnaeus 1758.
    Mead, D ; Ogden, R ; Meredith, A ; Peniche, G ; Smith, M ; Corton, C ; Oliver, K ; Skelton, J ; Betteridge, E ; Doulcan, J ; Holmes, N ; Wright, V ; Loose, M ; Quail, MA ; McCarthy, SA ; Howe, K ; Chow, W ; Torrance, J ; Collins, J ; Challis, R ; Durbin, R ; Blaxter, M (F1000 Research Ltd, 2021)
    We present a genome assembly from an individual female Aquila chrysaetos chrysaetos (the European golden eagle; Chordata; Aves; Accipitridae). The genome sequence is 1.23 gigabases in span. The majority of the assembly is scaffolded into 28 chromosomal pseudomolecules, including the W and Z sex chromosomes.
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    One Health in Indigenous Communities: A Critical Review of the Evidence
    Riley, T ; Anderson, NE ; Lovett, R ; Meredith, A ; Cumming, B ; Thandrayen, J (MDPI, 2021-11-01)
    Indigenous populations around the world face disproportionately high rates of disease related to the environment and animals. One Health is a concept that has been used effectively to understand and address these health risks. One Health refers to the relationships and interdependencies between animal, human, and environmental health and is an emerging research field that aligns with indigenous views of health. To understand the applicability of One Health in indigenous communities, a critical review was undertaken to investigate evidence of One Health research in indigenous communities internationally, assess the strength of evidence, and understand what gaps are present. This review included the appraisal of twenty-four studies based in five regions: Canada, Africa, Australia, South America, and Central America. The review found that there is a need for studies of high strength, with rigorous methods, local leadership, and active involvement of indigenous viewpoints, to be undertaken in indigenous communities internationally that focus on One Health. It highlights the need to further consider indigenous viewpoints in research to reduce limitations, increase effectiveness of findings, consider appropriateness of recommendations, and benefit communities.
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    Geographical Distribution and Genetic Diversity of Bank Vole Hepaciviruses in Europe
    Schneider, J ; Hoffmann, B ; Fevola, C ; Schmidt, ML ; Imholt, C ; Fischer, S ; Ecke, F ; Hoernfeldt, B ; Magnusson, M ; Olsson, GE ; Rizzoli, A ; Tagliapietra, V ; Chiari, M ; Reusken, C ; Buzan, E ; Kazimirova, M ; Stanko, M ; White, TA ; Reil, D ; Obiegala, A ; Meredith, A ; Drexler, JF ; Essbauer, S ; Henttonen, H ; Jacob, J ; Hauffe, HC ; Beer, M ; Heckel, G ; Ulrich, RG (MDPI, 2021-07-01)
    The development of new diagnostic methods resulted in the discovery of novel hepaciviruses in wild populations of the bank vole (Myodes glareolus, syn. Clethrionomys glareolus). The naturally infected voles demonstrate signs of hepatitis similar to those induced by hepatitis C virus (HCV) in humans. The aim of the present research was to investigate the geographical distribution of bank vole-associated hepaciviruses (BvHVs) and their genetic diversity in Europe. Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) screening revealed BvHV RNA in 442 out of 1838 (24.0%) bank voles from nine European countries and in one of seven northern red-backed voles (Myodes rutilus, syn. Clethrionomys rutilus). BvHV RNA was not found in any other small mammal species (n = 23) tested here. Phylogenetic and isolation-by-distance analyses confirmed the occurrence of both BvHV species (Hepacivirus F and Hepacivirus J) and their sympatric occurrence at several trapping sites in two countries. The broad geographical distribution of BvHVs across Europe was associated with their presence in bank voles of different evolutionary lineages. The extensive geographical distribution and high levels of genetic diversity of BvHVs, as well as the high population fluctuations of bank voles and occasional commensalism in some parts of Europe warrant future studies on the zoonotic potential of BvHVs.
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    Wildlife conservation in a fragmented landscape: the Eurasian red squirrel on the Isle of Wight
    Hardouin, EA ; Butler, H ; Cvitanovic, M ; Ulrich, RG ; Schulze, V ; Schilling, A-K ; Lurz, PWW ; Meredith, A ; Hodder, KH (SPRINGER, 2021-06-05)
    Abstract Island populations may have a higher extinction risk due to reduced genetic diversity and need to be managed effectively in order to reduce the risk of biodiversity loss. The Eurasian red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) in the south of England only survive on three islands (the Isle of Wight, Brownsea and Furzey islands), with the Isle of Wight harbouring the largest population in the region. Fourteen microsatellites were used to determine the genetic structure of red squirrel populations on the Isle of Wight, as well as their relatedness to other populations of the species. Our results demonstrated that squirrels on these islands were less genetically diverse than those in Continental mainland populations, as would be expected. It also confirmed previous results from mitochondrial DNA which indicated that the squirrels on the Isle of Wight were relatively closely related to Brownsea island squirrels in the south of England. Importantly, our findings showed that genetic mixing between squirrels in the east and west of the Isle of Wight was very limited. Given the potential deleterious effects of small population size on genetic health, landscape management to encourage dispersal of squirrels between these populations should be a priority.
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    Fatal exudative dermatitis in island populations of red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris): spillover of a virulent Staphylococcus aureus clone (ST49) from reservoir hosts.
    Fountain, K ; Blackett, T ; Butler, H ; Carchedi, C ; Schilling, A-K ; Meredith, A ; Gibbon, MJ ; Lloyd, DH ; Loeffler, A ; Feil, EJ (Microbiology Society, 2021-05)
    Fatal exudative dermatitis (FED) is a significant cause of death of red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands where it is associated with a virulent clone of Staphylococcus aureus, ST49. S. aureus ST49 has been found in other hosts such as small mammals, pigs and humans, but the dynamics of carriage and disease of this clone, or any other lineage in red squirrels, is currently unknown. We used whole-genome sequencing to characterize 228 isolates from healthy red squirrels on Jersey, the Isle of Arran (Scotland) and Brownsea Island (England), from red squirrels showing signs of FED on Jersey and the Isle of Wight (England) and a small number of isolates from other hosts. S. aureus was frequently carried by red squirrels on the Isle of Arran with strains typically associated with small ruminants predominating. For the Brownsea carriage, S. aureus was less frequent and involved strains associated with birds, small ruminants and humans, while for the Jersey carriage S. aureus was rare but ST49 predominated in diseased squirrels. By combining our data with publicly available sequences, we show that the S. aureus carriage in red squirrels largely reflects frequent but facile acquisitions of strains carried by other hosts sharing their habitat ('spillover'), possibly including, in the case of ST188, humans. Genome-wide association analysis of the ruminant lineage ST133 revealed variants in a small number of mostly bacterial-cell-membrane-associated genes that were statistically associated with squirrel isolates from the Isle of Arran, raising the possibility of specific adaptation to red squirrels in this lineage. In contrast there is little evidence that ST49 is a common carriage isolate of red squirrels and infection from reservoir hosts such as bank voles or rats, is likely to be driving the emergence of FED in red squirrels.
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    Bacterial Pathogens and Symbionts Harboured by Ixodes ricinus Ticks Parasitising Red Squirrels in the United Kingdom
    Luu, L ; Palomar, AM ; Farrington, G ; Schilling, A-K ; Premchand-Branker, S ; McGarry, J ; Makepeace, BL ; Meredith, A ; Bell-Sakyi, L (MDPI, 2021-04-01)
    Red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) are native to most of Eurasia; in much of the United Kingdom, they have been supplanted by the non-native grey squirrel, and are considered an endangered species. Very little is known about the range of tick-borne pathogens to which UK red squirrels are exposed. As part of trap-and-release surveys examining prevalence of Mycobacterium spp. in red squirrel populations on two UK islands, Ixodes ricinus ticks were removed from squirrels and PCR screened for Borrelia spp., intracellular arthropod-borne bacteria and the parasitic wasp Ixodiphagus hookeri. At both sites, the most commonly encountered tick-transmitted bacterium was Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (overall minimum prevalence 12.7%), followed by Anaplasma phagocytophilum (overall minimum prevalence 1.6%). Single ticks infected with Spiroplasma were found at both sites, and single ticks infected with Borrelia miyamotoi or an Ehrlichia sp. at one site. Ticks harbouring Wolbachia (overall minimum prevalence 15.2%) were all positive for I. hookeri. Our study shows that UK red squirrels are potentially exposed to a variety of bacterial pathogens via feeding ticks. The effects on the health and survival of this already vulnerable wildlife species are unknown, and further studies are needed to evaluate the threat posed to red squirrels by Borrelia and other tick-borne pathogens.
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    Infectious disease and emergency conservation interventions
    Peters, A ; Meredith, A ; Skerratt, L ; Carver, S ; Raidal, S (WILEY, 2020-07-22)
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    Implications of squirrelpox virus for successful red squirrel translocations within mainland UK
    Sainsbury, AW ; Chantrey, J ; Ewen, JG ; Gurnell, J ; Hudson, P ; Karesh, WB ; Kock, RA ; Lurz, PWW ; Meredith, A ; Tompkins, DM (WILEY, 2020-06-01)