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Archive - Nov 18, 2015

Scientists Find Cure for Fatal Chytrid Fungal Disease of Wild Amphibians; Chytrid Has Affected Over 700 Species Across Five Continents; First-Ever Successful Elimination from Wild

Research published today (Wednesday, November 18, 2015) details the first-ever successful elimination of a fatal chytrid fungus in a wild amphibian, marking a major breakthrough in the fight against the disease responsible for devastating amphibian populations worldwide. The highly-infectious chytrid pathogen has severely affected over 700 amphibian species worldwide; driving population declines, extirpations, and species extinctions across five continents. Results from the seven-year study show the first evidence of eradicating the chytrid pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) affecting amphibians in situThe new paper in Biology Letters, the paper ACCESS details the outcome of a project led by scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the National Museum of Natural History in Spain (MNCN-CSIC), and Imperial College London. The study combined anti-fungal treatment of Mallorcan midwife toad (Alytes muletensis) tadpoles with environmental disinfection. By using an antifungal to treat tadpoles and a common laboratory decontaminant to sterilize the environment, researchers were able to clear infection from populations of the toad over the research period. The article is titled “Successful Elimination of a Lethal Wildlife Infectious Disease in Nature.” Co-author Dr. Trenton Garner, Reader within ZSL's Institute of Zoology, said, "This study represents a major breakthrough in the fight against this highly-destructive pathogen; for the first time we have managed to rid wild individuals of infection for a continued period.” "Amphibian-associated chytrid fungi are a critical conservation issue that requires simple, straightforward, and transferrable solutions. Our study is a significant step towards providing these." Dr.