Acta Vet. Brno 2013, 82: 351-355

Fatal chytridiomycosis and infection loss observed in captive toads infected in the wild

Vojtech Baláž1, Martina Kubečková2, Petr Civiš3, Roman Rozínek2, Jiří Vojar3

1University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, Department of Biology and Wildlife Diseases, Brno, Czech Republic
2NaturaServis Ltd., Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
3Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Ecology, Prague, Czech Republic

A parasitic fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is now recognised as an important factor in the amphibian biodiversity crisis. Toad species of the genus Bufo are among those susceptible to infection by the pathogen in Europe. The aim of this study was to observe the presence and impact of infection in adults of two toad species collected for captive breeding. The total number of animals included in the study was 162, but only subsets were used for sampling at different occasions (35 specimens in the initial sampling in summer 2011, 48 post hibernation during winter 2011, and 31 in summer 2012, after all toads in captivity were treated with itraconazole). We performed TaqMan real-time quantification PCR to detect and quantify the pathogen. We found that a large infection load was linked to mortality in a single adult green toad (Bufo viridis). However, low infection loads observed in five B. viridis and five natterjack toads (B. calamita) were lost over time, with no apparent adverse effect. Intraconazole treated animals were all clear of infection. As infection in these two toad species either led to mortality or recovery, it seems unlikely they could act as permanent carriers of B. dendrobatidis and therefore persistence of the pathogen is likely maintained by different host species. This is the first study to date that has detected infection and observed its impact and persistence in wild-infected toads in Europe.


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