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The emergence of sarcoptic mange in Australian wildlife: an unresolved debate


Fraser, TA and Charleston, M and Martin, A and Polkinghorne, A and Carver, S, The emergence of sarcoptic mange in Australian wildlife: an unresolved debate, Parasites and Vectors, 9, (1) Article 316. ISSN 1756-3305 (2016) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Fraser et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1186/s13071-016-1578-2


Due to its suspected increase in host range and subsequent global diversification, Sarcoptes scabiei has important implications at a global scale for wildlife conservation and animal and human health. The introduction of this pathogen into new locations and hosts has been shown to produce high morbidity and mortality, a situation observed recently in Australian and North American wildlife.

Of the seven native animal species in Australia known to be infested by S. scabiei, the bare-nosed wombat (Vombatus ursinus) suffers the greatest with significant population declines having been observed in New South Wales and Tasmania. The origins of sarcoptic mange in Australian native animals are poorly understood, with the most consistent conclusion being that mange was introduced by settlers and their dogs and subsequently becoming a major burden to native wildlife. Four studies exist addressing the origins of mange in Australia, but all Australian S. scabiei samples derive from only two of these studies. This review highlights this paucity of phylogenetic knowledge of S. scabiei within Australia, and suggests further research is needed to confidently determine the origin, or multiple origins, of this parasite.

At the global scale, numerous genetic studies have attempted to reveal how the host species and host geographic location influence S. scabiei phylogenetics. This review includes an analysis of the global literature, revealing that inconsistent use of gene loci across studies significantly influences phylogenetic inference. Furthermore, by performing a contemporary analytical approach on existing data, it is apparent that (i) new S. scabiei samples, (ii) appropriate gene loci targets, and (iii) advanced phylogenetic approaches are necessary to more confidently comprehend the origins of mange in Australia. Advancing this field of research will aid in understanding the mechanisms of spillover for mange and other parasites globally.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Sarcoptes scabiei, wombat, network, phylogeny, one health, conservation medicine
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Host-parasite interactions
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Fraser, TA (Ms Tamieka Fraser)
UTAS Author:Charleston, M (Professor Michael Charleston)
UTAS Author:Martin, A (Ms Alynn Martin)
UTAS Author:Carver, S (Associate Professor Scott Carver)
ID Code:110330
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:36
Deposited By:Mathematics and Physics
Deposited On:2016-07-25
Last Modified:2017-11-01
Downloads:288 View Download Statistics

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