Indexed on: 06 Oct '18Published on: 06 Oct '18Published in: Journal of aquatic animal health
Global amphibian decline continues to be a great concern despite our increased understanding of the causes behind the observed patterns of the decline, such as habitat modification and infectious diseases. Although there is a large body of literature on the topic of amphibian infectious diseases, pathogen prevalence and distribution among entire communities of species in many regions remain poorly understood. In addition to these geographic gaps in our understanding, past work has focused largely on individual pathogens, either Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) or ranavirus (RV), rather than dual infection rates among host species. We sampled for prevalence and infection load of both pathogens in 514 amphibians across 16 total sites in northeastern Oklahoma. Amphibians were caught by hand, net, or seine; they were swabbed to screen for Bd; and liver tissue samples were collected to screen for RV. Overall results of quantitative PCR assays showed that 7% of screened individuals were infected with RV only, 37% were infected with Bd only, and 9% were infected with both pathogens simultaneously. We also documented disease presence in several rare amphibian species that are currently being monitored as species of concern due to their small population sizes in Oklahoma. This study synthesizes a growing body of research regarding infectious diseases among amphibian communities in the central United States. © 2018 American Fisheries Society.