Australian pathology short course a first

27 August 2008

University of Sydney academics featured prominently in the world first wildlife pathology short course focusing on Australian fauna, held last week at Taronga Zoo.

The event brought together experts from around the world to share their knowledge on wildlife pathogens.

Professor Paul Canfield from Sydney's Veterinary Faculty was a guest speaker along with four other Sydney researchers. Professor Canfield said the course addressed the need to train the wider science community in the skills and knowledge to better protect humans and wildlife from disease.
"Wildlife health and monitoring of disease is important to preserve threatened and endangered species. It is also important to study diseases which may be transmitted to domestic animals and people," he said. "In the global environment approximately 60 per cent of all human pathogens can be transferred between animals and humans. Over the past 10 years most emerging diseases have originated from wildlife."

The short course offered broad, yet comprehensive training to provide a grassroots understanding of wildlife pathology. Topics included disease and its interactions with the environment, diagnosing vector-born disease, how humans interact with disease, bio-security and disease in a range of fauna, from birds to amphibians and reptiles, and all kinds of mammals.

Highly respected local speakers from Sydney University, included Dr David Phalen, Dr Michelle Dennis, Professor Richard Whittington, and Dr Mark Krockenberger along with internationally recognised wildlife pathologists such as Dr Scott Fitzgerald, Dr Gary Wobeser, Dr Richard Montali and Dr Judy St.Leger.

Professor Canfield presented on the first day and hopes his talk on how to investigate pathogens will encourage researchers to use a big picture approach when studying wildlife disease.
The event, which was co-ordinated by The Australian Registry of Wildlife Health, was an initiative of the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, with generous financial support of the CYBEC Foundation and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry.

Contact: Mandy Sacher

Phone: 02 9114 0622