Lee F Skerratt

Lee F Skerratt
University of Melbourne | MSD · Melbourne Veterinary School

BAnSc BVSc PhD MANZCVSc

About

295
Publications
75,219
Reads
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9,276
Citations
Introduction
I lead a One Health Research Group interested in improving the health of humans, their animals and wildlife. More information available at https://www.facebook.com/onehealthresearchgroup/
Additional affiliations
January 2008 - present
James Cook University
Position
  • Senior Researcher
Description
  • One health research projects
December 2003 - December 2007
James Cook University Brisbane
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Description
  • Teaching epidemiology and parasitology to veterinary and biomedical students. Wildlife health research projects.
October 2002 - October 2003
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Position
  • Researcher
Description
  • Diseases of sea ducks.

Publications

Publications (295)
Article
The global rate of wildlife extinctions is accelerating, and the persistence of many species requires conservation breeding programs. A central paradigm of these programs is to preserve the genetic diversity of the founder populations. However, this may preserve original characteristics that make them vulnerable to extinction. We introduce targeted...
Article
Full-text available
Mycoviruses may influence the pathogenicity of disease-causing fungi. Although mycoviruses have been found in some chytrid fungi, limited testing has not detected them in Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the cause of the devastating amphibian disease, chytridiomycosis. Here we conducted a survey for mycovirus presence in 38 Bd isolates from Aus...
Article
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Since their discovery in 2014, reptile nidoviruses (also known as serpentoviruses) have emerged as significant pathogens worldwide. They are known for causing severe and often fatal respiratory disease in various captive snake species, especially pythons. Related viruses have been detected in other reptiles with and without respiratory disease, inc...
Article
The devastating infectious disease chytridiomycosis has caused declines of amphibians across the globe, yet some populations are persisting and even recovering. One understudied effect of wildlife disease is changes in reproductive effort. Here we aimed to understand if disease has plastic effects on reproduction and if reproductive effort could ev...
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Wildlife health assessments help identify populations at risk of starvation, disease, and decline from anthropogenic impacts on natural habitats. Here, we provide an overview of available health assessment studies in non‐captive vertebrates, and propose a framework to strategically integrate health assessments in population monitoring. Using a syst...
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Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) was first described in 1996 and has been regularly detected in Australian bats since that time. While the virus does not cause population level impacts in bats and has minimal impacts on domestic animals, it does pose a public health risk. For this reason, bats are monitored for ABLV and a national dataset is collat...
Article
Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi) is one of two species of tree-kangaroos found in Queensland, Australia. There is little information about ocular anatomy and pathology in any species of tree-kangaroo, and there are claims of blindness from unknown causes in free-ranging Lumholtz's tree-kangaroos. This study investigated ocular anato...
Article
Chytridiomycosis has been a key driver of global frog declines and extinctions, particularly for high‐altitude populations across Australia and the Americas. While recent evidence shows some species are recovering, the extent of such recoveries and the mechanisms underpinning them remain poorly resolved. We surveyed the historical latitudinal and e...
Article
Herpesvirus infections associated with a range of clinical findings are widespread in free-ranging and captive Australian marsupials. We report on herpesviruses identified by virus neutralization and PCR in free-ranging and captive Lumholtz's tree-kangaroos ( Dendrolagus lumholtzi). Herpesvirus has not been confirmed previously by DNA testing in tr...
Article
In November 2017, two groups of P. conspicillatus pups from separate locations in Far North Queensland presented with neurological signs consistent with Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) infection. These pups (n = 11) died over an 11‐day period and were submitted to a government laboratory for testing where ABLV infection was confirmed. Over the nex...
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Lambert et al . question our retrospective and holistic epidemiological assessment of the role of chytridiomycosis in amphibian declines. Their alternative assessment is narrow and provides an incomplete evaluation of evidence. Adopting this approach limits understanding of infectious disease impacts and hampers conservation efforts. We reaffirm th...
Article
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Wildlife health is of emerging relevance for conservation, human health, and domestic animal health. Increased research on wildlife health problems has not been accompanied by a relative increase in effective solutions. Translational research was developed in human health to overcome blocks impeding the development of solutions out of basic researc...
Article
Full-text available
Wildlife health is of emerging relevance for conservation, human health, and domestic animal health. Increased research on wildlife health problems has not been accompanied by a relative increase in effective solutions. Translational research was developed in human health to overcome blocks impeding the development of solutions out of basic researc...
Article
Ranaviral infections cause mass die-offs in wild and captive turtle populations. Two experimental studies were performed to first determine the susceptibility of an Australian turtle species (Emydura macquarii krefftii) to different routes of infection and second examine the effect of viral titre on the morbidity in hatchlings. All inoculation rout...
Article
Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is a skin disease responsible for the global decline of amphibians. Frog species and populations can vary in susceptibility, but this phenomenon remains poorly understood. Here, we investigated serotonin in the skin of infected and uninfected frogs. In more susceptible frog...
Article
The fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is causing global amphibian declines. Here we describe a simple, rapid and inexpensive methylene blue staining protocol to determine B. dendrobatidis viability, regardless of life-stage. The viability of cells in suspension or adherent monolayers can be determined using either manual microscopy counting or...
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Background: Snow leopards, Panthera uncia, are a threatened apex predator, scattered across the mountains of Central and South Asia. Disease threats to wild snow leopards have not been investigated.Methods and Results: Between 2008 and 2015, twenty snow leopards in the South Gobi desert of Mongolia were captured and immobilised for health screening...
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The amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (chytrid) has caused the most widespread, disease‐induced declines and extinctions in vertebrates recorded to date. The largest climatically suitable landmass that may still be free of this fungus is New Guinea. The island is home to a sizeable proportion of the world's known frog species...
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Anthropogenic trade and development have broken down dispersal barriers, facilitating the spread of diseases that threaten Earth's biodiversity. We present a global, quantitative assessment of the amphibian chytridiomycosis panzootic, one of the most impactful examples of disease spread, and demonstrate its role in the decline of at least 501 amphi...
Article
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Ranaviruses can infect many vertebrate classes including fish, amphibians and reptiles, but for the most part, research has been focused on non-reptilian hosts, amphibians in particular. More recently, reports of ranaviral infections of reptiles are increasing with over 12 families of reptiles currently susceptible to ranaviral infection. Reptiles...
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In Australia, the cane toad Rhinella marina and chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) are examples of invasive species that have had dramatic impacts on native fauna. However, little is known about the interaction between Bd and cane toads. We aimed to explore the interaction of these 2 species in 3 parts. First, we collated data from...
Article
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The fungal skin disease, chytridiomycosis (caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and B. salamandrivorans), has caused amphibian declines and extinctions globally since its emergence. Characterizing the host immune response to chytridiomycosis has been a focus of study with the aim of disease mitigation. However, many aspects of the innate and ad...
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The impacts of free-roaming canids (domestic and wild) on public health have long been a concern in Australian Indigenous communities. We investigated the prevalence of zoonotic helminth diseases in dogs and sympatric dingoes, and used radio telemetry to measure their spatial overlap, in an Aboriginal community in the Wet Tropics of Australia. Samp...
Data
This PDF file includes: Materials and Methods - Figs. S1, S3, S4, S6, S7, and S9 to S16 - Tables S2 to S5 - Captions for figs. S2, S5, and S8 - Caption for table S1 - Captions for data S1 to S3 - References
Chapter
The amphibian fungal disease chytridiomycosis is considered one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. This lethal skin disease is caused by chytridiomycete fungi belonging to the genus Batrachochytrium. Although sudden amphibian population declines had occurred since the 1970s in the Americas and Australia, mass mortalities were not observed unt...
Article
Full-text available
Chytridiomycosis is among several recently emerged fungal diseases of wildlife that have caused decline or extinction of naïve populations. Despite recent advances in understanding pathogenesis, host response to infection remains poorly understood. Here we modelled a total of 162 metabolites across skin and liver tissues of 61 frogs from four popul...
Article
Full-text available
Parasitic chytrid fungi have emerged as a signifcant threat to amphibian species worldwide, necessitating the development of techniques to isolate these pathogens into culture for research purposes. However, early methods of isolating chytrids from their hosts relied on killing amphibians. We modifed a pre-existing protocol for isolating chytrids f...
Article
Full-text available
Amphibians are experiencing a great loss in biodiversity globally and one of the major causes is the infectious disease chytridiomycosis. This disease is caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which infects and disrupts frog epidermis; however, pathological changes have not been explicitly characterized. Apoptosis (progr...
Article
Full-text available
Globalized infectious diseases are causing species declines worldwide, but their source often remains elusive. We used whole-genome sequencing to solve the spatiotemporal origins of the most devastating panzootic to date, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a proximate driver of global amphibian declines. We traced the source of B....
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Infection with the larval stage of the cestode, Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato (s.l.), causes hydatid disease (hydatidosis) in a range of hosts, including macropods and other marsupials, cattle, and humans. Wild macropods are an important sylvatic reservoir for the life cycle of E. granulosus (s.l.) in Australia, and so provide a conduit for tr...
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Disease risk mapping is important for predicting and mitigating impacts of bat-borne viruses, including Hendra virus (Paramyxoviridae:Henipavirus), that can spillover to domestic animals and thence to humans. We produced two models to estimate areas at potential risk of HeV spillover explained by the climatic suitability for its flying fox reservoi...
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Captive and wild amphibians are under threat of extinction from the deadly fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). The antifungal drug terbinafine (TBF) is used by pet owners to treat Bd-infected frogs; however, it is not widely used in academic or zoological institutions due to limited veterinary clinical trials. To assess TBF's effic...
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The fungal skin disease chytridiomycosis has caused the devastating decline and extinction of hundreds of amphibian species globally, yet the potential for evolving resistance, and the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms remain poorly understood. We exposed 406 naïve, captive-raised alpine tree frogs (Litoria verreauxii alpina) from multiple p...
Article
Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi) is an iconic species in far north Queensland yet little is known about its health or population status. Studies on this species have been conducted in a limited number of locations and focused primarily on ecology, habitat use and home-range size. The species is relatively common in the Atherton Tabl...
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Understanding environmental factors driving spatiotemporal patterns of disease can improve risk mitigation strategies. Hendra virus (HeV), discovered in Australia in 1994, spills over from bats (Pteropus sp.) to horses and thence to humans. Below latitude − 22°, almost all spillover events to horses occur during winter, and above this latitude spil...
Preprint
Full-text available
Southern corroboree frogs (Pseudophryne corroboree) have been driven to functional extinction in the wild after the emergence of the amphibian fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in southeastern Australia in the 1980s. This species is currently maintained in a captive assurance colony and is managed to preserve the genetic diversity...
Article
Full-text available
Potentiating the evolution of immunity is a promising strategy for addressing biodiversity diseases. Assisted selection for infection resistance may enable the recovery and persistence of amphibians threatened by chytridiomycosis; a devastating fungal skin disease threatening hundreds of species globally. However, knowledge of the mechanisms involv...
Preprint
Full-text available
Parasitic chytrid fungi have emerged as a significant threat to amphibian species worldwide, necessitating the development of techniques to isolate these pathogens into sterile culture for research purposes. However, early methods of isolating chytrids from their hosts relied on killing amphibians. We modified a pre-existing protocol for isolating...
Article
Amphibian chytridiomycosis disease has caused widespread declines and extinctions of frogs in cool, wet habitats in eastern Australia. Screening suggests that the disease does not yet occupy all areas modelled to be environmentally suitable, including rainforests on Cape York Peninsula. Cape Melville is an area of rainforest with several endemic fr...
Article
Full-text available
Emerging pathogens can drive evolutionary shifts in host life-history traits, yet this process remains poorly documented in vertebrate hosts. Amphibian chytridiomycosis, caused by infection with the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is the worst recorded wildlife disease and has caused the extinction of over 100 species across mu...
Article
Biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate, especially among vertebrates. Disease is commonly ignored or dismissed in investigations of wildlife declines, partly because there is often little or no obvious clinical evidence of illness. We argue that disease has the potential to cause many species declines and extinctions and that there is mounti...
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Infectious diseases are transmitted when susceptible hosts are exposed to pathogen particles that can replicate within them. Among factors that limit transmission, the environment is particularly important for indirectly transmitted parasites. To try and assess a pathogens’ ability to be transmitted through the environment and mitigate risk, we nee...
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Ancylostoma ceylanicum is the common hookworm of domestic dogs and cats throughout Asia, and is an emerging but little understood public health risk in tropical northern Australia. We investigated the prevalence of A. ceylanicum in soil and free-ranging domestic dogs at six rainforest locations in Far North Queensland that are Indigenous Australian...
Article
Full-text available
Southern corroboree frogs (Pseudophryne corroboree) have declined to near extinction in the wild after the emergence of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in southeastern Australia in the 1980s. A major captive breeding and reintroduction program is underway to preserve this iconic species, but improving resistance to B. de...
Article
The objective of this review was to identify and critique over forty years of peer-reviewed literature concerned with the transmission of canine zoonoses to Aboriginal people and determine the zoonotic organisms documented in dogs in Australian Aboriginal communities. A systematic literature search of public health, medical and veterinary databases...
Article
The impacts of pathogen emergence in naïve hosts can be catastrophic, and pathogen spread now ranks as a major threat to biodiversity. However, pathogen impacts can persist for decades after epidemics and produce variable host outcomes. Chytridiomycosis in amphibians (caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd) is an exemplar,...
Article
Full-text available
Background Amphibians are declining at an alarming rate, and one of the major causes of decline is the infectious disease chytridiomycosis. Parasitic fungal sporangia occur within epidermal cells causing epidermal disruption, but these changes have not been well characterised. Apoptosis (planned cell death) can be a damaging response to the host bu...
Data
Caspase data Raw data for the caspase 3/7 assay for L v alpina
Article
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[Extract] When Rick Speare died in a car accident on 5th June 2016 while heading to Cairns to teach parasitology, the world lost a phenomenal force for good. Both Rick and his wife Kerry Kelly have inspired many with their compassion, not just for the world at large but for all the immediate people and animals around them. Rick made brilliant contr...