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Treatment of urodelans based on temperature dependent infection dynamics of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
The recently emerged chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans currently causes amphibian population declines. We hypothesized that temperature dictates infection dynamics of B. salamandrivorans, and that therefore heat treatment may be applied to clear animals from infection. We examined the impact of environmental temperature on B. salamandrivorans infection and disease dynamics in fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra). Colonization of salamanders by B. salamandrivorans occurred at 15°C and 20°C but not at 25°C, with a significantly faster buildup of infection load and associated earlier mortality at 15°C. Exposing B. salamandrivorans infected salamanders to 25°C for 10 days resulted in complete clearance of infection and clinically cured all experimentally infected animals. This treatment protocol was validated in naturally infected wild fire salamanders. In conclusion, we show that B. salamandrivorans infection and disease dynamics are significantly dictated by environmental temperature, and that heat treatment is a viable option for clearing B. salamandrivorans infections.
Journal: Scientific Reports