About Ranavirus

 
 

The scientific community is increasingly aware that emerging infectious diseases pose a significant threat to global biodiversity.  A group of viruses in the genus Ranavirus (Family Iridoviridae) cause disease in amphibians, reptiles and fish, and appear to be emerging in some populations.  Ranavirus-associated die-offs in larval and adult amphibians have been documented in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, with death rates often exceeding 90% during an outbreak.  Ranavirus infections also have been reported in wild and cultured fish populations worldwide.  While research on reptiles has been slower to accumulate, recent evidence suggests that ranaviruses are capable of causing morbidity and mortality in free-ranging populations. 

Together, these widespread die-offs have sparked a diversity of research programs addressing the ecology and evolution of ranavirus-host interactions, potential reservoirs and transmission dynamics, molecular techniques for identifying and characterizing ranaviruses, immunological and histopathological responses to infection, hypothesized causes for emergence, and potential conservation strategies to control emergence.