Serum samples collected from 224 tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii) in two captive populations in urban areas in eastern New South Wales Australia, between December 1999 and May 2004, were tested for antibodies to Ross River virus (RRV). In one population in northwest Sydney, 21 animals (11%) tested positive, and in another population in Newcastle, New South Wales, thirteen (33%) of the animals were positive. Antibodies were detected in four of 11 wallaroos (Macropus robustus) (36%) but not in parma wallabies (Macropus parma) (n =5), koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) (n =12) and southern hairy-nosed wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons) (n=2) from the Sydney area. These data support the possible role of marsupials as urban amplifying hosts for RRV.
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Vol. 41 • No. 3