Evidence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Infection in Water Frogs of the Rana esculenta Complex in Central Italy
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- Simoncelli, F., Fagotti, A., Dall’Olio, R. et al. EcoHealth (2005) 2: 307. doi:10.1007/s10393-005-8337-8
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Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (phylum Chytridiomycota, order Chytridiales) is the causative organism of chytridiomycosis in amphibians, a disease associated with their population decline worldwide. In this work, we report a cutaneous infection in water frogs of the Rana esculenta complex in agricultural areas of Umbria, central Italy. Histological, immunohistochemical, ultrastructural, and molecular analyses demonstrated for the first time the presence of the Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in this complex; to date, no association between the presence of chytrid fungal infection and mortality has been found, to our knowledge. However, the presence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection in the water frogs of the Rana esculenta complex is of concern because the frogs could act as a reservoir species and contribute to the decline of less resistant species.