Hope for fighting disease known as Ebola of frogs

ScienceDaily | 2/15/2019 | Staff
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That's the finding of a new study published this week in the journal Immunogenetics. Anna Savage, an assistant professor of biology at the University of Central Florida, is the lead author of the study.

The research is important because frogs are facing what may be a mass extinction as a result of disease, Savage says.

Variation - Anything - Savage

"If you have more genetic variation, you have more potential to respond and adapt to anything," Savage says.

However, protecting frog habitats from destruction and pollution is critical, she says.

Habitats - Population - Sizes - Things - Actions

"Don't destroy habitats, maintain large population sizes -- these simple things are the best actions to implement, given whatever limited information we have, to give populations the chance to rebound," she says.

The virus Savage and her colleagues studied is called Ranavirus. It affects cold-blooded animals, such as amphibians, reptiles and fish. It causes a tadpole's internal organs to fill with blood and explode, much like the Ebola virus does in humans. It is one of the top two pathogens causing worldwide amphibian decline.

Researchers - Ranavirus - Pathogens - Environment - Pathogens

Researchers suspect that Ranavirus and other similar pathogens have long been in the environment, but they are exploring why the pathogens are now causing so many disease outbreaks.

"Certainly, the rise of these infectious pathogens coincides with the period when global temperatures started to significantly increase," she says. "There are a lot of biologists working on studies trying to tease apart the relationship between climate and amphibian health and how that might translate to some of these global disease problems."

Frogs - Roles - Savage - Diseases - Insects

It is important to study frogs because of the roles they play, Savage says. They help control diseases by eating insects that can infect humans and also are an essential part of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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