Saturday, March 2, 2013

Amphibians and bats

I mainly focus on human diseases in this class but over the last week I did branch out a little. Some recently emerging diseases I did not discuss were the chytrid fungus affecting frogs and the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats. Both of these are causing serious conservation problems.

The March 2013 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, a publication of the CDC, has a nice review:

Parallels in Amphibian and Bat Declines from Pathogenic Fungi

Pathogenic fungi have substantial effects on global biodiversity, and 2 emerging pathogenic species—the chytridiomycete Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which causes chytridiomycosis in amphibians, and the ascomycete Geomyces destructans, which causes white-nose syndrome in hibernating bats—are implicated in the widespread decline of their vertebrate hosts. We synthesized current knowledge for chytridiomycosis and white-nose syndrome regarding disease emergence, environmental reservoirs, life history characteristics of the host, and host–pathogen interactions. We found striking similarities between these aspects of chytridiomycosis and white-nose syndrome, and the research that we review and propose should help guide management of future emerging fungal diseases.

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