As in The Last of Us, an Australian island is under quarantine due to a pathogenic fungus

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    As in The Last of Us, an Australian island is under quarantine due to a pathogenic fungus


    Lord Howe Island is a crescent lake located in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand. An untouched paradise is now in biohazard. Local authorities have closed the island off to tourists and all non-essential visitors in a last-ditch effort to protect it from blight of myrtle, a pathogenic fungus native to South America that is now spreading around the world.

    It is a parasite that attacks various species of the Myrtaceae family and can even kill the host plant by covering it with its yellow spores. The fungus was first discovered on the island last month and has the potential to damage the entire local ecosystem. This led to the extreme decision to put the entire island under quarantine.

    “Closing Lord Howe Island to non-essential visitors is an effort to mitigate the spread of the myrtle virus, as it can be transmitted via airborne sources such as wind, rain, animal and human activity,” explains WHO’s Dr Arun Tham. Sunshine Coast University. For this reason, “Declaring the island a no-go for visitors is essential for local authorities to combat the pathogen. Such findings are clearly a challenge for tourism-dependent destinations such as Lord Howe Island, particularly as they seek to recover after the Covid pandemic.”

    The island puts an end to the presence of no more than four hundred people at the same time per day, that is, at the rate of one human being every 35,000 square metres, to prevent its presence from becoming a vector for the spread of fungi that are not a problem for our body. As Professor Robert Park of the Australian Grain Rust Control Programme, explains, “Myrtle rust was first detected in Australia on the central coast of New South Wales in April 2010. It is caused by a fungus that is among the most feared plant pathogens – they spread rapidly over thousands of “This new infestation clearly demonstrates how difficult it is to treat rust diseases when they enter a new area. Another complication is that it infects a wide range of native plants, some of which are of great cultural importance or already threatened.”

    Lord Howe Island isn’t the first tourist destination to be closed to preserve its environment. They also made a lot of noise Boracay closeThe Philippines and Maya Bay, in Thailand. “This allows the natural environment to recover from natural and human activities and serves as a mechanism to sustain life on land and in the waters, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” concludes Tham.


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