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God hates koalas

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Well, this is a bummer, but it’s not like we haven’t been warning the koalas about the sinning and the non-missionary-style sex and all of that sort of thing.

Koala Immune Deficiency Syndrome, as the disease is otherwise known, is now documented in the Wildlife Disease Database, maintained by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is worrying veterinary scientists who are seeing more and more koala victims of the disease.

“Extinction is inevitable in some areas,” Jon Hanger, a veterinary scientist at Australia Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital, told CNN. “I certainly hope we don’t see it across Australia. But if we don’t take the decline seriously and pick up on the warning signs now it’s certainly a risk.”

Like human AIDS, the disease is not fully understood, but a virus weakens the victim’s immune system, leaving the koala vulnerable to cancer, infections and other health problems. The CNN report mentions that KIDS “is spread by koalas coming into contact with each other,” suggesting that mating isn’t the only possible form of transmission.

Apparently, Pat Robertson has contacted the Concord Monitor and reiterated his theory that if we were all in a room with 25 infected koalas and they were breathing various things into the atmosphere, the chance of someone catching KIDS would be quite strong. In other news, it looks like Celia Farber will be publishing a piece in Harper’s arguing that koala AIDS isn’t caused by infectious disease at all.

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