Getting in contact with either a possum or a mosquito can be very dangerous for us humans. While the insects are known to be able to spread diseases such as malaria, the Zika virus, or more, the marsupials aren’t doing “worse.” Possums can carry dangerous diseases such as spotted fever, toxoplasmosis, coccidiosis, tuberculosis, relapsing fever, tularemia, leptospirosis, and Chagas disease.
However, we might need to worry more about the two types of creatures than before. According to ScienceNews, those living in Australia might be forced to deal with the threat of a flesh-eating disease being spread by mosquitoes and possums.
Watch out for Mycobacterium ulcerans!
Mycobacterium ulcerans is the name for the flesh-eating disease that the two aforementioned animals are suspected of spreading in Australia. Researchers have now discovered a potential link between the transmission of Mycobacterium ulcerans and mosquitoes and possums. The bacteria is able to cause Buruli ulcer, which is a disfiguring skin disease that exists in large quantities in Australia and Africa. Native possums in Australia, which also develop ulcers, shed the bacteria in their own feces. It has been discovered that a small number of captured mosquitoes had recently fed on both possums and humans, and genetic analyses showed identical M. ulcerans bacteria in the case of mosquitoes, possums, and humans.
The new discovery suggests that mosquitoes could be transmitting Mycobacterium ulcerans in Australia, although the exact mechanism of transmission is still largely unknown. The research could help in controlling the disease by understanding the animals that host the bacteria and their interactions with humans.
Possums won’t hesitate to bite if they feel threatened, similar to any other animal. However, these creatures are even intelligent enough to play dead if they are willing to escape from a difficult situation.
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