In spring 2010, nearly a third of the chamois living in a region of northern Austria suddenly died of unexplained causes. Concerned hunters and foresters sent the carcasses to the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna for analysis. Extensive investigations have now revealed that the animals died of bacterial pneumonia caused by two strains of bacteria that are highly unusual in chamois. The results have been published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases.
Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) share their habitat with a number of other wild animals as well as with farm animals. Because of the risk of disease transmission between species, when dead or sick animals are discovered by hunters or foresters it is extremely important determining the causes. Early identification of the cause of disease or death can be crucial to prevent a wide-scale outbreak. The Pathological Laboratory at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology specializes in such cases.
Severe pneumonia as cause of death
Nineteen dead chamois from the region of Amstetten, Lilienfeld and Salzburg in north-central Austria were investigated. The researchers performed autopsies, investigating various tissues and testing for the presence of bacteria, viruses and parasites. The analysis revealed that the animals had died of a massive pneumonia.
The causes of the pneumonia turned out to be bacteria with the evocative names Mannheimia glucosida (in honour of the German biologist Walter Mannheim, nothing to do with the German town) and Bibersteinia trehalosi. The bacteria had previously been detected only in cattle and sheep. That they can cause deadly and epidemic pneumonia in chamois was unknown. "It is against the law to administer medical treatment to wild animals, so we don’t really have many possibilities to prevent an epidemic", explains Annika Posautz from the pathology team of the Research Institute. "All we can do is try to minimize contact between animals, for example by avoiding the use of salt licks."
There has been no acute die-off of chamois since the cases in 2010. So why were the bacteria so harmful at that time? Posautz believes that "It was probably a combination of several factors. The winter of 2009-2010 was very harsh and the animals were suffering from parasite infestation. The combination of these two factors weakened their immune systems and probably led to the deaths."
Threat to domestic animals
In the Alps, chamois are frequently in close contact with domestic animals such as cattle and sheep that graze in the pastures. This puts farm animals as well as wildlife population at risk for inter-species transmission of infections. Close cooperation with hunters and foresters is essential to ensure that any outbreaks are detected as soon as possible. It is then possible to put emergency measures in place, including increased monitoring of the animals and actions to minimize contact between diseased and healthy individuals.
The article „Acute die-off of chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) in the eastern Austrian Alps due to bacterial bronchopneumonia with Pasteurellaceae”, by Annika Posautz, Igor Loncaric, Anna Kübber-Heiss, Alexander Knoll and Christian Walzer was published in the Journal of Wildlife diseases. DOI: 10.7589/2013-04-090 http://www.jwildlifedis.org/doi/abs/10.7589/2013-04-090
About the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna
The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in Austria is one of the leading academic and research institutions in the field of Veterinary Sciences in Europe. About 1,200 employees and 2,300 students work on the campus in the north of Vienna which also houses five university clinics and various research sites. Outside of Vienna the university operates Teaching and Research Farms. http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology
University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-7156
Dr.rer.nat. Susanna Kautschitsch
Science Communication / Public Relations
University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-1153
Dr. Susanna Kautschitsch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine