EcoHealth Alliance has a long history in amphibian conservation. Over ten years ago, a newly discovered fungal disease called chytridiomycosis (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) was found to be associated with amphibian mass mortality rates and population declines in Panama and Australia. Since then, the disease has been reported in North America, South America, Africa, and Europe. EcoHealth Alliance is currently testing what factors drive the disease’s emergence and its virulence. We have recently provided evidence that “pathogen pollution”, the introduction of non-native hosts or parasites to new locations is a major factor contributing to the spread of this disease. Dr. Peter Daszak helped first discover chytridiomycosis .
Initially, current data shows that the fungal disease varies little from continent to continent, suggesting recent spread. The bullfrog is globally traded as a food item and appears to be relatively resistant to chytridiomycosis. It is very possible that the bullfrog may serve as an efficient reservoir for the disease.
EcoHealth Alliance and its global partners continue to research the emergence and spread of chytridiomycosis in the interest of global amphibian conservation. This research will follow the global spread and persistence of chytridiomycosis and ultimately influence the management of infected and non-infected amphibian populations through global trade.