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Clinically healthy amphibians in captive collections and at pet fairs: A reservoir of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

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Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is the cause of the fungal disease chytridiomycosis, a potentially lethal skin disease of amphibians. Asymptomatically infected amphibians may pose a risk for environmental pathogen pollution. This study therefore assessed the role of healthy, captive amphibians as a reservoir of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Samples were collected from captive amphibians in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France (559 from anurans, 330 from urodelans and 4 from gymnophians) from private owners, zoos, and laboratories. In addition to which, 78 anurans from 19 living collections were sampled during a pet fair in the Netherlands. Nearly 3% of the captive amphibians were infected by B. dendrobatidis, and 13.6% of the collections yielded at least one positive result. At the fair, 7 out of 78 anurans, representing 2 collections were positive. None of the animals that tested positive showed any obvious health problems at the time of sampling. Our results demonstrate the potential of the amphibian pet trade as a vehicle for the spread of B. dendrobatidis.

Affiliations: 1: Reptile, Amphibian & Fish Conservation Netherlands (RAVON), P.O. Box 1413, 6501 BK Nijmegen, The Netherlands; 2: Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B9820 Merelbeke, Belgium; 3: Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, London NW1 4RY, U.K.; 4: Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B9820 Merelbeke, Belgium;, Email:


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