Viruses, Vol. 11, Pages 26: Pathogen Risk Analysis for Wild Amphibian Populations Following the First Report of a Ranavirus Outbreak in Farmed American Bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) from Northern Mexico (Viruses)
Ranaviruses are the second deadliest pathogens for amphibian populations throughout the world. Despite their wide distribution in America, these viruses have never been reported in Mexico, the country with the fifth highest amphibian diversity in the world. This paper is the first to address an outbreak of ranavirus in captive American bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) from Sinaloa, Mexico. The farm experienced high mortality in an undetermined number of juveniles and sub-adult bullfrogs. Affected animals displayed clinical signs and gross lesions such as lethargy, edema, skin ulcers, and hemorrhages consistent with ranavirus infection. The main microscopic lesions included mild renal tubular necrosis and moderate congestion in several organs. Immunohistochemical analyses revealed scant infected hepatocytes and renal tubular epithelial cells. Phylogenetic analysis of five partial ranavirus genes showed that the causative agent clustered within the Frog virus 3 clade. Risk assessment with the Pandora+ protocol demonstrated a high risk for the pathogen to affect amphibians from neighboring regions (overall Pandora risk score: 0.619). Given the risk of American bullfrogs escaping and spreading the disease to wild amphibians, efforts should focus on implementing effective containment strategies and surveillance programs for ranavirus at facilities undertaking intensive farming of amphibians.