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Non-Lethal Detection of Frog Virus 3-Like (RUK13) and Common Midwife Toad Virus-Like (PDE18) Ranaviruses in Two UK-Native Amphibian Species

Ford, CE; Brookes, LM; Skelly, E; Sergeant, C; Jordine, T; Balloux, F; Nichols, RA; (2022) Non-Lethal Detection of Frog Virus 3-Like (RUK13) and Common Midwife Toad Virus-Like (PDE18) Ranaviruses in Two UK-Native Amphibian Species. Viruses , 14 (12) , Article 2635. 10.3390/v14122635. Green open access

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Abstract

Ranaviruses have been involved in amphibian mass mortality events worldwide. Effective screening to control this pathogen is essential; however, current sampling methods are unsuitable for the detection of subclinical infections. Non-lethal screening is needed to prevent both further spread of ranavirus and losses of at-risk species. To assess non-lethal sampling methods, we conducted two experiments: bath exposing common frogs to RUK13 ranavirus at three concentrations, and exposing common toads to RUK13 or PDE18. Non-lethal sampling included buccal, digit, body and tank swabs, along with toe clips and stool taken across three time-points post-exposure. The presence/load of ranavirus was examined using quantitative PCR in 11 different tissues obtained from the same euthanised animals (incl. liver, gastro-intestinal tract and kidney). Buccal swab screening had the highest virus detection rate in both species (62% frogs; 71% toads) and produced consistently high virus levels compared to other non-lethal assays. The buccal swab was effective across multiple stages of infection and differing infection intensities, though low levels of infection were more difficult to detect. Buccal swab assays competed with, and even outperformed, lethal sampling in frogs and toads, respectively. Successful virus detection in the absence of clinical signs was observed (33% frogs; 50% toads); we found no difference in detectability for RUK13 and PDE18. Our results suggest that buccal swabbing could replace lethal sampling for screening and be introduced as standard practice for ranavirus surveillance.

Type: Article
Title: Non-Lethal Detection of Frog Virus 3-Like (RUK13) and Common Midwife Toad Virus-Like (PDE18) Ranaviruses in Two UK-Native Amphibian Species
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/v14122635
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/v14122635
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: CMTV, FV3, buccal swab, common frog, common toad, non-lethal detection, Animals, Ranavirus, DNA Virus Infections, Anura, United Kingdom
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10162620
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