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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Multi-year dynamics of ranavirus, chytridiomycosis, and co-infections in a temperate host assemblage of amphibians

Olori, Jennifer C.; Netzband, Rachel; McKean, Nathan; Lowery, Jason; Parsons, Kirsten; Windstam, Sofia T.


Chytridiomycosis and ranavirosis are 2 emerging infectious diseases that have caused significant global amphibian decline. Although both have received much scrutiny, little is known about interactions between the 2 causative agents Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and ranavirus (Rv) at the individual host and population levels. We present the first longitudinal assessment of Bd, Rv, and co-infections of a temperate amphibian assemblage in North America. From 2012 to 2016, we assessed the temporal oscillations of Bd, Rv and co-infection dynamics in a sample of 729 animals representing 13 species. Bd, Rv, and co-infected amphibians were detected during all 5 yr. Bd, Rv, and co-infection prevalence all varied annually, with the lowest instances of each at 2.1% (2013), 7.9% (2016), and 0.6% (2016), respectively. The highest Bd, Rv, and co-infection prevalence were recorded in 2012 (26.8%), 2016 (38.3%), and 2015 (10.3%), respectively. There was no association between Bd or Rv infection prevalence and co-infection, either when assessing the entire amphibian assemblage as a whole (odds ratio 1.32, 95% CI: 0.83-2.1, p = 0.29) or within species for amphibians that were more numerically represented (n > 40, p > 0.05). This suggests neither Bd nor Rv facilitate host co-infections within the sampled host assemblage. Instead, the basis for co-infections is the spatiotemporal distribution of both pathogens. Despite lack of interplay between Bd and Rv in this population, our study highlights the importance of considering numerous pathogens that may be present within amphibian habitats in order to properly anticipate interactions that may have direct bearing on disease outcomes.


Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; Ranavirus; Co-infections; Host assemblage; Longitudinal

Published in

Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
2018, Volume: 130, number: 3, pages: 187-197

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