Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Cause of death established – Chamois had pneumonia


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.

Two different strains of bacteria caused the sudden chamois-deaths.

Photo: A. Haymerle

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

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.

Scientific Contact:
Annika Posautz
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology
University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-7156

Released by:
Dr.rer.nat. Susanna Kautschitsch
Science Communication / Public Relations
University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-1153

Weitere Informationen:

Dr. Susanna Kautschitsch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Annika Ecology Medicine Veterinary Vetmeduni Wildlife animals bacteria combination death epidemic pneumonia

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>