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Authored by Helle B. Hydeskov

 

Cleaning your outdoor clothes and gear is always a good idea. Why is that?

In addition to the risk of different species being transported on outdoor equipment and thereby potentially establishing themselves as invasive species in a new area, there is also a risk of transporting a disease to that area. Such a disease can be a potential threat to native wildlife.

For example, outdoor clothes and gear that weren’t cleaned properly have been vehicles of transmission of white-nose syndrome fungus spores, a disease that has killed millions of bats in North America.

On the Island Sky ship, the crew is making sure all of our equipment that have touched the ground is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after each landing. This ensures that any potential infectious agent is not transported from one area to another. Homeward Bound participants are thereby protecting the health of the Antarctic wildlife.

Photo Credit: Helle B. Hydeskov

 

A wildlife disease of concern at the moment worldwide, including in Antarctica, is high pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) that can infect and kill both birds and mammals. To learn more about the spread of HPAI, see the latest status report from the World Organisation of Animal Health here.