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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 132:23-35 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03300

Co-exposure to multiple ranavirus types enhances viral infectivity and replication in a larval amphibian system

Joseph R. Mihaljevic1,3,*, Jason T. Hoverman2, Pieter T. J. Johnson1

1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
2Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
3Present address: School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Multiple pathogens commonly co-occur in animal populations, yet few studies demonstrate how co-exposure of individual hosts scales up to affect transmission. Although viruses in the genus Ranavirus are globally widespread, and multiple virus species or strains likely co-occur in nature, no studies have examined how co-exposure affects infection dynamics in larval amphibians. We exposed individual northern red-legged frog Rana aurora larvae to 2 species of ranavirus, namely Ambystoma tigrinum virus (ATV), frog virus 3 (FV3), or an FV3-like strain isolated from a frog-culturing facility in Georgia, USA (RCV-Z2). We compared single-virus to pairwise co-exposures while experimentally accounting for dosage. Co-exposure to ATV and FV3-like strains resulted in almost twice as many infected individuals compared to single-virus exposures, suggesting an effect of co-exposure on viral infectivity. The viral load in infected individuals exposed to ATV and FV3 was also higher than the single-dose FV3 treatment, suggesting an effect of co-exposure on viral replication. In a follow-up experiment, we examined how the co-occurrence of ATV and FV3 affected epizootics in mesocosm populations of larval western chorus frogs Pseudacris triseriata. Although ATV did not generally establish within host populations (<4% prevalence), when ATV and FV3 were both present, this co-exposure resulted in a larger epizootic of FV3. Our results emphasize the importance of multi-pathogen interactions in epizootic dynamics and have management implications for natural and commercial amphibian populations.


KEY WORDS: Ambystoma tigrinum virus · Frog virus 3 · Rana aurora · Pseudacris triseriata · Epizootic · Transmission · Bayesian · Experimental


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Cite this article as: Mihaljevic JR, Hoverman JT, Johnson PTJ (2018) Co-exposure to multiple ranavirus types enhances viral infectivity and replication in a larval amphibian system. Dis Aquat Org 132:23-35. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03300

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