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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 129:239-244 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03246

NOTE
Herpesvirus skin disease in free-living common frogs Rana temporaria in Great Britain

L. H. V. Franklinos1,4, J. Rodriguez-Ramos Fernandez1,5, H. B. Hydeskov1,2, K. P. Hopkins1, D. J. Everest3, A. A. Cunningham1, B. Lawson1,*

1Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY, UK
2Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, AL9 7TA, UK
3Animal Plant and Health Agency Weybridge, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 3NB, UK
4Present address: University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK
5Present address: IDEXX Laboratories Limited, Grange House, Sandbeck Way, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS22 7DN, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Infectious disease is a significant driver of global amphibian declines, yet despite this, relatively little is known about the range of pathogens that affect free-living amphibians. Recent detection of the tentatively named Ranid herpesvirus 3 (RHV3), associated with skin disease in free-living common frogs Rana temporaria in Switzerland, helps to address this paucity in knowledge, but the geographic distribution and epidemiology of the pathogen remains unclear. Syndromic surveillance for ranid herpesvirus skin disease was undertaken throughout Great Britain (GB), January 2014 to December 2016. Reports of common frogs with macroscopic skin lesions with a characteristic grey appearance were solicited from members of the public. Post-mortem examination was conducted on one affected frog found dead in 2015 at a site in England. In addition, archived samples from an incident involving common frogs in England in 1997 with similar macroscopic lesions were further investigated. Transmission electron microscopy identified herpes-like virions in skin lesions from both the 1997 and 2015 incidents. RHV3, or RHV3-like virus, was detected in skin lesions from the 2015 case by PCR and sequencing. Our findings indicate that herpesvirus skin disease is endemic in common frogs in GB, with widespread distribution at apparently low prevalence. Further research into the role of host immunity, virus latency and the significance of infection to host survival is required to better understand the epidemiology and impact of cutaneous herpesvirus infections in amphibian populations.


KEY WORDS: Ranid herpesvirus 3 · Skin disease · Great Britain · Europe · Rana temporaria · Amphibian · Herpesvirus


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Cite this article as: Franklinos LHV, Fernandez JRR, Hydeskov HB, Hopkins KP, Everest DJ, Cunningham AA, Lawson B (2018) Herpesvirus skin disease in free-living common frogs Rana temporaria in Great Britain. Dis Aquat Org 129:239-244. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03246

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