DAO 98:95-112 (2012)  -  doi:10.3354/dao02424

Qualitative risk analysis of introducing Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis to the UK through the importation of live amphibians

Alison J. Peel1,*, Matt Hartley2, Andrew A. Cunningham1

1Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, London NW1 4RY, UK
2Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, London SW1P 4PQ, UK

ABSTRACT: The international amphibian trade is implicated in the emergence and spread of the amphibian fungal disease chytridiomycosis, which has resulted in amphibian declines and extinctions globally. The establishment of the causal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), in the UK could negatively affect the survival of native amphibian populations. In recognition of the ongoing threat that it poses to amphibians, Bd was recently included in the World Organisation for Animal Health Aquatic Animal Health Code, and therefore is in the list of international notifiable diseases. Using standardised risk analysis guidelines, we investigated the likelihood that Bd would be introduced to and become established in wild amphibians in the UK through the importation of live amphibians. We obtained data on the volume and origin of the amphibian trade entering the UK and detected Bd infection in amphibians being imported for the pet and private collection trade and also in amphibians already held in captive pet, laboratory and zoological collections. We found that current systems for recording amphibian trade into the UK underestimate the volume of non-European Union trade by almost 10-fold. We identified high likelihoods of entry, establishment and spread of Bd in the UK and the resulting major overall impact. Despite uncertainties, we determined that the overall risk estimation for the introduction of Bd to the UK through the importation of live amphibians is high and that risk management measures are required, whilst ensuring that negative effects on legal trade are minimised.


KEY WORDS: Amphibian trade · Chytridiomycosis · Risk assessment · Emerging infectious disease


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Cite this article as: Peel AJ, Hartley M, Cunningham AA (2012) Qualitative risk analysis of introducing Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis to the UK through the importation of live amphibians. Dis Aquat Org 98:95-112

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