, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 414–425 | Cite as

Prevalence, Emergence, and Factors Associated with a Viral Papillomatosis and Carcinomatosis Syndrome in Wild, Reintroduced, and Captive Western Barred Bandicoots (Perameles bougainville)

  • Lucy Woolford
  • Mark David Bennett
  • Colleen Sims
  • Neil Thomas
  • James Anthony Friend
  • Philip Keith Nicholls
  • Kristin Shannon Warren
  • Amanda Jane O’Hara
Original Contribution


Once widespread across western and southern Australia, wild populations of the western barred bandicoot (WBB) are now only found on Bernier and Dorre Islands, Western Australia. Conservation efforts to prevent the extinction of the WBB are presently hampered by a papillomatosis and carcinomatosis syndrome identified in captive and wild bandicoots, associated with infection with the bandicoot papillomatosis carcinomatosis virus type 1 (BPCV1). This study examined the prevalence and distribution of BPCV1 and the associated syndrome in two island and four mainland (reintroduced and captive) WBB populations in Western Australia, and factors that may be associated with susceptibility to this syndrome. BPCV1 and the syndrome were found in the wild WBB population at Red Cliff on Bernier Island, and in mainland populations established from all or a proportion of founder WBBs from Red Cliff. BPCV1 and the syndrome were not found in the wild population on Dorre Island or in the mainland population founded by animals exclusively from Dorre Island. Findings suggested that BPCV1 and the syndrome were disseminated into mainland WBB populations through the introduction of affected WBBs from Red Cliff. No difference in susceptibility to the syndrome was found between Dorre Island, Bernier Island, and island-cross individuals. Severity of lesions and the number of affected animals observed in captivity was greater than that observed in wild populations. This study provided epidemiological evidence to support the pathological and molecular association between BPCV1 infection and the papillomatosis and carcinomatosis syndrome and revealed increasing age as an additional risk factor for this disease.


BPCV1 epidemiology papillomatosis carcinomatosis Perameles bougainville western barred bandicoot 



This project was funded by the Australian Research Council in partnership with Murdoch University and the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) under Linkage Project LP0455050. Lucy Woolford was funded by the Lorna Edith Murdoch Veterinary Trust Scholarship. We thank Stephanie Hill for her fundamental investigations into expression of this syndrome in archival WBB specimens held in Australian museums. We are grateful to June Butcher and the volunteers at Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for their care and monitoring of the WBBs housed there, and the Denham and Narrogin Department of Environment and Conservation Western Australia (DEC) officers for the care and monitoring of WBBs in the Peron and Dryandra captive breeding facilities, respectively. We thank Linda Reinhold of DEC for her kind and invaluable assistance during field monitoring activities and providing interpretation of population data. We thank Dr. Jeff Short for his kind assistance and advice during monitoring of the Heirisson Prong population, and the Australian Customs Service (Corio Bay) and Spaniard Charters for their assistance in monitoring the WBB populations on Bernier and Dorre Islands.


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Copyright information

© International Association for Ecology and Health 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucy Woolford
    • 1
    • 5
  • Mark David Bennett
    • 1
  • Colleen Sims
    • 2
  • Neil Thomas
    • 3
  • James Anthony Friend
    • 4
  • Philip Keith Nicholls
    • 1
  • Kristin Shannon Warren
    • 1
  • Amanda Jane O’Hara
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Veterinary and Biomedical SciencesMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Environment and ConservationDenhamAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Environment and ConservationWoodvaleAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Environment and ConservationAlbanyAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Pathology and Infectious DiseasesRoyal Veterinary CollegeHertfordshireUK

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