Nature friends help investigate causes of death in frogs

6.6.2008

<div>The populations of amphibians are decreasing everywhere in the world. Many frog species face extinction. Reasons may include the reduction of suitable environments for frogs as a result of urbanisation and changes in land use, or contagious diseases. A European team of researchers is now investigating the role of the ranavirus disease in the decrease in the populations. Evira participates in this project in cooperation with experts from the Finnish Museum of Natural History.</div>

As part of this project, Evira has developed methods to analyse frogs for the pathogenic virus. The research project is funded by the EU, and the objective of the project is to establish the occurrence of ranavirus in Europe, and to promote the investigation of the causes of death in frogs also in the future.

Ranavirus only causes the disease in amphibians, fish and reptiles. The disease is not transmitted to humans or other animals. Ranavirus has caused outbreaks of the disease and mortality in fish and amphibians in Australia, Asia and USA. In Europe, ranavirus has been found in frogs in Great Britain, Italy and Croatia.

Observations on frog mortality collected until 30 September 2008

Several countries have joined in on the search for the virus and are asking amphibian enthusiasts and nature friends to report any observations on frog mortality through an enquiry posted on the Internet. The enquiry form can be found in Finnish and in Swedish at http://www.webropol.com/P.aspx?id=239954&cid=21496947 .

The enquiry form can be filled out until 30 September 2008.


For more information, please contact:
- Hannele Tapiovaara, Special Researcher, Veterinary Virology Research Unit, Evira, hannele.tapiovaaraat-merkki.gifevira.fi, tel. +358 (0) 20 77 24589
- Juhani Terhivuo (reachable as of 23 June, 2008), Docent, Finnish Museum of Natural History, tjuhani.terhivuoat-merkki.gifhelsinki.fi, tel. +358 (0) 9 191 28844 

www.ranavirus.net
http://www.fmnh.helsinki.fi/english/zoology/index.htm

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