World Frog Trade Spreading Killer Diseases

Millions of frogs are shifted around the world each year for sale as pets and food. Now research shows, for the first time, that this global trade is spreading two severe diseases – one of which is blamed for driving amphibians towards extinction.

Ranavirus

Ranavirus

Last year the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) took a step towards monitoring both diseases by making them “notifiable”, but as yet there are no regulations to prevent the trade of infected frogs.

“This is a major issue,” says Peter Daszak, president of the Wildlife Trust, and an expert on amphibian diseases. “Over a million bullfrogs a year come into the USA for food. If only five per cent are infected, that’s 50,000 infected animals.”

Daszak and colleagues surveyed frogs that were imported through three major US ports: Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. In each city, they visited market stalls and stores selling live imported bullfrogs or frog parts, purchased samples, and took them back to the lab where they were tested for the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and for ranaviruses – viruses specific to amphibians.

Full story at New Scientist
Journal reference: Biological Conservation, Volume 142, Issue 7, July 2009, Pages 1420-1426

Kirtland Peterson

frog, frogs, amphibians, biodiversity, climate change, global warming, Chytrid, chitridiomycosis, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd, ecosystems, extinction, toads, research, save the frogs, extinct, fungus, virus, deformation

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