Broad Distribution of Ranavirus in Free-Ranging Rana dybowskii in Heilongjiang, China
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Ranaviruses have been associated with die-offs in cultured amphibians in China, but their presence in wild amphibians has not yet been assessed. We sampled free-ranging Rana dybowskii at seven sites throughout Heilongjiang Province to determine the presence and prevalence of ranaviruses in this region. Our results revealed an overall infection prevalence of 5.7% (18/315) for adults and 42.5% (51/120) for tadpoles by PCR. PCR-amplified product showed a high degree of homology with several members of the Iridoviridae, mostly with those belonging to the genus Ranavirus. The results indicate that ranaviruses are broadly distributed throughout Heilongjiang Province and could have important implications for the health of native wildlife. Additional sampling and management strategies should be urgently adopted to address the prevalence and health consequences of ranaviruses throughout China.