Investigation of amphibian mortality events in wildlife reveals an on-going ranavirus epidemic in the North of the Netherlands

Rijks, J. M. et al. (2016) Investigation of amphibian mortality events in wildlife reveals an on-going ranavirus epidemic in the North of the Netherlands. PLoS ONE, 11(6), e0157473. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157473) (PMID:27315226) (PMCID:PMC4912076)

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In the four years following the first detection of ranavirus (genus Ranavirus, family Iridoviridae) infection in Dutch wildlife in 2010, amphibian mortality events were investigated nationwide to detect, characterize and map ranaviruses in amphibians over time, and to establish the affected host species and the clinico-pathological presentation of the disease in these hosts. The ultimate goal was to obtain more insight into ranavirus disease emergence and ecological risk. In total 155 dead amphibians from 52 sites were submitted between 2011 and 2014, and examined using histopathology, immunohistochemistry, virus isolation and molecular genetic characterization. Ranavirus-associated amphibian mortality events occurred at 18 sites (35%), initially only in proximity of the 2010 index site. Specimens belonging to approximately half of the native amphibian species were infected, including the threatened Pelobates fuscus (spadefoot toad). Clustered massive outbreaks involving dead adult specimens and ranavirus genomic identity indicated that one common midwife toad virus (CMTV)-like ranavirus strain is emerging in provinces in the north of the Netherlands. Modelling based on the spatiotemporal pattern of spread showed a high probability that this emerging virus will continue to be detected at new sites (the discrete reproductive power of this outbreak is 0.35). Phylogenetically distinct CMTV-like ranaviruses were found in the south of the Netherlands more recently. In addition to showing that CMTV-like ranaviruses threaten wild amphibian populations not only in Spain but also in the Netherlands, the current spread and risk of establishment reiterate that understanding the underlying causes of CMTV-like ranavirus emergence requires international attention.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding provided by Grants 140008149/2011, and 1400006202/2010, 1400008946/2011, 1300011172/2012, 1300014843/2013, 1300017645/2014 from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs: JMR, ASvdS, AJAMvA, MS, FvdS, AG, SJvB, MJLK. Grant 60000784/2012 from the Netherlands Food and Consumer Safety Authority: JMR, ASvdS, AG, MJLK. Grant 245756/359573 from the Mexican Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT): BS. Grant MC_UU_12014/3 from the United Kingdom Medical Research Council: GSW, JH.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wilkie, Dr Gavin and Hughes, Dr Joseph
Authors: Rijks, J. M., Saucedo, B., Spitzen-van der Sluijs, A., Wilkie, G. S., van Asten, A. J. A. M., van den Broek, J., Boonyarittichaikij, R., Stege, M., van der Sterren, F., Martel, A., Pasmans, F., Hughes, J., Gröne, A., van Beurden, S. J., and Kik, M. J. L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity > Centre for Virus Research
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Published Online:17 June 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Rijks et al.
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 11(6):e0157473
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
656321Genomics of human cytomegalovirusAndrew DavisonMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12014/3MVLS III - CENTRE FOR VIRUS RESEARCH