Emergent multisystemic Enterococcus infection threatens endangered Christmas Island reptile populations

Rose, Karrie, Agius, Jessica, Hall, Jane, Thompson, Paul, Eden, John-Sebastian, Srivastava, Jukesh, Tiernan, Brendan, Jenkins, Cheryl, and Phalen, David (2017) Emergent multisystemic Enterococcus infection threatens endangered Christmas Island reptile populations. PLoS One, 12 (7). e0181240.

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Abstract

Multisystemic infections with a morphologically unusual bacterium were first observed in captive critically endangered Lister's geckos (Lepidodactylus listeri) on Christmas Island in October 2014. Since then the infection was identified in another captive critically endangered lizard species, the blue-tailed skink (Cryptoblepharus egeriae) and two species of invasive geckos; the four clawed gecko (Gehyra mutilata) and Asian house gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus), in a wide geographic range across the east side of the island. The Gram and periodic acid-Schiff positive cocci to diplococci have a propensity to form chains surrounded by a matrix, which ultrastructurally appears to be formed by fibrillar capsular projections. The bacterium was associated with severe and extensive replacement of tissues, but minimal host inflammatory response. Attempts to grow the organism in culture and in embryonated eggs were unsuccessful. Molecular characterisation of the organism placed it as a novel member of the genus Enterococcus. Disease Risk Analyses including this organism should now be factored into conservation management actions and island biosecurity.

Item ID: 50411
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Additional Information:

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: Taronga Conservation Society (TCS), National Significant Disease Investigation Scheme, Wildlife Health Australia
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 08:43
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0605 Microbiology > 060502 Infectious Agents @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960499 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species not elsewhere classified @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960599 Ecosystem Assessment and Management not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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