Salamander-killing fungus gains an international profile
During the annual meeting of international animal health experts in Paris this summer, international experts agreed to add the salamander-killing fungus (Batrachochytridium salamandrivorans or Bsal) to the OIE (Office International des Epizooties) or the World Organization for Animal Health international list of tracked or “listed” animal diseases. The chytrid fungus (Batrachochytridium dendrobatidis or Bd), which is related to Bsal and has been associated with declines in amphibian populations, was already listed. Countries that participate as members of the OIE are required to provide information on these diseases to the OIE and essentially the international community. Diseases that make the list tend to be important for human and animal health and can impact trade in animals and animal products with different countries. The OIE has many missions that include international control of animal diseases. The listing of Bsal internationally emphasizes the global significance of this pathogen to the conservation of salamander species as drastic population-level declines have been attributed to Bsal in affected populations in Europe. Scientists, policy makers, and others are working on many initiatives to promote the conservation of amphibians and other wildlife species. For more information see www.salamanderfungus.org, http://www.oie.int/, and www.wildlifedisease.org.