Antibiotics are used to treat koalas for chlamydial disease, a health crisis devastating koala populations across Australia. However, the overuse of these drugs may promote antibiotic resistance and reduce treatment efficacy. Researchers will gather retrospective data to document antibiotic use in the 2019-20 wildfires in Australian wildlife with fire injuries and test fire-affected koalas for the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Findings will benefit koalas through appropriate use of antibiotics and potentially by preserving the efficacy of those antibiotics used to treat chlamydial disease and other infections in wildlife species. A better understanding of antibiotic treatment and potential impacts on wildlife during wildfire response will also inform development of training resources to ensure optimal antibiotic use for treating wildlife during future fire events.
Grant amount awarded
Michelle Power, PhD