, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 851–864 | Cite as

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans and the Risk of a Second Amphibian Pandemic

  • Tiffany A. YapEmail author
  • Natalie T. Nguyen
  • Megan Serr
  • Alexander Shepack
  • Vance T. Vredenburg


Amphibians are experiencing devastating population declines globally. A major driver is chytridiomycosis, an emerging infectious disease caused by the fungal pathogens Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). Bd was described in 1999 and has been linked with declines since the 1970s, while Bsal is a more recently discovered pathogen that was described in 2013. It is hypothesized that Bsal originated in Asia and spread via international trade to Europe, where it has been linked to salamander die-offs. Trade in live amphibians thus represents a significant threat to global biodiversity in amphibians. We review the current state of knowledge regarding Bsal and describe the risk of Bsal spread. We discuss regional responses to Bsal and barriers that impede a rapid, coordinated global effort. The discovery of a second deadly emerging chytrid fungal pathogen in amphibians poses an opportunity for scientists, conservationists, and governments to improve global biosecurity and further protect humans and wildlife from a growing number of emerging infectious diseases.


Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (BsalBsal Task Force Chytridiomycosis Amphibian pandemic Emerging infectious diseases in wildlife Wildlife disease Global biosecurity 



This research was funded in part through the Belmont Forum Project People, Pollution and Pathogens (P 3 ): NSF 1633948 to VT Vredenburg. We thank Jennifer R. Ballard, Deanna H. Olson, Jeffrey M. Lorch, Jonathan Sleeman, Thomas B. Lentz, and anonymous reviewers for valuable suggestions and feedback. We thank the IUCN and Michelle Koo at AmphibiaWeb for providing us with species range and richness data. We thank the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley for technical support. We thank Ben de Jesus for design help with the figure. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US Government.


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Copyright information

© EcoHealth Alliance 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiffany A. Yap
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Natalie T. Nguyen
    • 3
  • Megan Serr
    • 4
  • Alexander Shepack
    • 5
  • Vance T. Vredenburg
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologySan Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health CenterMadisonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biological SciencesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  5. 5.Zoology DepartmentSouthern Illinois University CarbondaleCarbondaleUSA

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