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Long-term study of an infection with ranaviruses in a group of edible frogs (Pelophylax kl. esculentus) and partial characterization of two viruses based on four genomic regions

Stöhr, Anke C., Hoffmann, Alexandra, Papp, Tibor, Robert, Nadia, Pruvost, Nicolas B.M., Reyer, Heinz-Ulrich, Marschang, Rachel E.
The veterinary journal 2013 v.197 no.2 pp. 238-244
DNA-directed DNA polymerase, Pelophylax, Rana esculenta, Ranavirus, abdomen, cell culture, coat proteins, frogs, gastrointestinal system, genes, legs, mortality, nucleotide sequences, phylogeny, polymerase chain reaction, ponds, viruses, Germany
Several edible frogs (Pelophylax kl. esculentus) collected into a single group from various ponds in Europe died suddenly with reddening of the skin (legs, abdomen) and haemorrhages in the gastrointestinal tract. Ranavirus was detected in some of the dead frogs using PCR, and virus was also isolated in cell culture. Over the following 3years, another two outbreaks occurred with low to high mortality in between asymptomatic periods. In the first 2years, the same ranavirus was detected repeatedly, but a new ranavirus was isolated in association with the second mass-mortality event.The two different ranaviruses were characterized based on nucleotide sequences from four genomic regions, namely, major capsid protein, DNA polymerase, ribonucleoside diphosphate reductase alpha and beta subunit genes. The sequences showed slight variations to each other or GenBank entries and both clustered to the Rana esculenta virus (REV-like) clade in the phylogenetic analysis. Furthermore, a quiescent infection was demonstrated in two individuals. By comparing samples taken before and after transport and caging in groups it was possible to identify the pond of origin and a ranavirus was detected for the first time in wild amphibians in Germany.