The rise of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) within the United States is a huge cause for concern. Recent statistics report that there are 20 million new cases of STDs each year, originating from only eight strains of bacteria and viruses.
With this notable rise in STD prevalence, non-profit organizations like Planned Parenthood are becoming increasingly important, and health officials are doing everything they can to protect and educate the masses on the harmful effects of STDs.
But according to recent reports, humans aren’t the only species at risk of becoming infected by sexually transmitted diseases. It turns out that koalas, the cuddly, eucalyptus-munching tree bears, are the animal species most direly at risk.
According to MTV, koalas are catching chlamydia like crazy. The epidemic is so severe, in fact, that the world’s population of koalas is in danger.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that spreads through sexual contact, and through birth. In humans, chlamydia can be successfully treated using antibiotics. But without the proper treatment, chlamydia can be a serious infection that can lead to serious complications such as infertility.
Because of this, The Verge reports that nearly half of the infected female koala population has been rendered infertile.
And for the female koalas with chlamydia who remain fertile, the infection is being spread to their offspring during suckling.
And koalas aren’t the only animals suffering. According to MTV no species is safe, from lady bugs to horses.
Unfortunately, there’s no means of proliferating education and preventative measures to species that just don’t speak English. If you’re a human, you can easily educate yourself or undergo preventative measures such as abstinence or the use of condoms.
Yet researchers are working hard to find means to preventing these diseases from spreading. For koalas, this would mean a chlamydia vaccine that would halt the transference of chlamydia from one animal to the next.