Apr 26, 2012 12:14 AM GMT
Having a koala urinate on you isn't pleasant -- especially if it puts you at risk of getting chlamydia.
That's the fear recently faced by Liam Payne and Harry Styles, members of the popular boy band One Direction.
The band is currently touring Australia and New Zealand and, as part of their visit, Payne and Styles each cuddled with a 3-year-old koala named Kat.
But during the encounter, Kat answered nature's call and whizzed right on them, according to HeatWorld.com.
That was bad enough, but the two teen idols, both 18, worried they saw their lives flashing before their eyes when they learned that 80 percent of koalas reportedly have chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease whose effects include severe conjunctivitis (or "pink eye"), incontinence, prostatitis and kidney damage, according to AOL News.
In some koala cases, the chlamydia is so bad that the animals no longer have the energy to survive and suffer from urinary tract infections that are impairing the reproductive system.
To say that Payne and Styles were shocked to find out that being soaked with koala urine put them at risk is an understatement.
"I'm genuinely scared. This is worrying," Payne told the Sun. "I’d have never picked the thing up if I'd known."
Although transmission from koalas to humans is unlikely, a minority of the creatures have a strain of chlamydia that can be passed to other species, The Frisky reported.
Still, the situation is so dire that experts fear the koala may become extinct in a few decades if a vaccine isn't developed. But that presents problems as well, according to Peter Timms, a Queensland University of Technology professor working on the vaccine.