Disease kills 7 wallabies at Virginia Zoo since Feb. 2014

FILE - Wallaby at the Virginia Zoo's Australia exhibit. (Photo provided by the Virginia Zoo)

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A parasite-borne disease has killed seven wallabies at the Virginia Zoo over the past 11 months.

The Virginian-Pilot (http://bit.ly/1uXbTK2 ) reports that the zoo’s remaining wallabies have been quarantined.

The newspaper says zoo officials confirmed the deaths on Monday. The wallabies that died were among 10 that the zoo brought in from New Zealand last year.

Zoo veterinarian Dr. Amanda Guthrie says the wallabies don’t have a natural immunity to the disease, toxoplasmosis, because it’s not indigenous to New Zealand. But she’s surprised by the number of deaths.

Guthrie says she didn’t expect the wallabies to be so susceptible to the disease in a short amount of time.

Executive director Greg Bockheim says the zoo plans to bring in wallabies from other zoos that have survived in captivity for a period of time.

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