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Around 80% of the koalas in Japan's zoos are infected
Around 80% of the koalas in Japan's zoos are infected with a virus that causes leukemia and lymphoma, the country's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Blood tests carried out at Kyoto's Virus Research Institute and the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums revealed that 50 of the 62 koalas in the country's nine zoos have been infected. All 39 northeastern Australian koalas and four of the 11 southern Australian koalas have been diagnosed with the virus.

Scientists believe that all of the infected koalas, who were placed in the zoo in 2007, were already sick when they arrived from Australia. The virus does not affect humans.

The virus is hereditary and 36 of the 38 koalas born in Japan's zoos have been infected. Scientists say some koalas can develop an immunity to the virus, but that others are likely to die.


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