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PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e35038. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035038. Epub 2012 Apr 13.

Waterfowl: potential environmental reservoirs of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium. an.garmyn@UGent.be

Abstract

Infections with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (B. dendrobatidis), the causal agent of chytridiomycosis, have been shown to play an important role in the decline of amphibians worldwide. Spread of the fungus is poorly understood. Bird movement might possibly contribute to the spread of B. dendrobatidis in the environment. Therefore, 397 wild geese in Belgium were screened for presence of B. dendrobatidis on their toes using real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR). In addition, chemotaxis towards, adhesion, survival after desiccation and proliferation of B. dendrobatidis on keratinous toe scales from waterfowl were examined in vitro. qPCR revealed that 76 geese (15%) were positive for B. dendrobatidis. Results of the in vitro tests showed that B. dendrobatidis is attracted to the keratinous toes of aquatic birds on which they can adhere and even proliferate. However, desiccation is poorly tolerated. This suggests waterfowl are potential environmental reservoirs for B. dendrobatidis.

PMID:
22514705
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3325947
Free PMC Article
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