AUSTRALIA

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Millions of kangaroos in the outbacks of Australia could now hope to be saved from a possibly dark fate owing to blindness as scientists have isolated the virus responsible for it. The kangaroo population had been severely mauled by a mysterious affliction which resulted in blindness; blind kangaroos had been detected last year.

According to Carl Gibson from the Victorian Institute of Animal Science, the Orbivirus caused the blindness by entering the brain and then destroying the animals' optic nerve permanently. While blindness alone did not cause death to these marsupials, it certainly weakened their ability to forage for food and defend themselves against their enemies. The virus could have possibly spread through flying insects and research is underway to track them and also control the spread of the disease.

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