Skin-eating fungal disease annihilates 90 amphibian species

'Unprecedented': Flesh Eating Disease Wiping Out Entire Species

'Unprecedented': Flesh Eating Disease Wiping Out Entire Species

The fungal disease chytridiomycosis has caused 90 species to go extinct.

According to a study published by ANU scientists on Friday, chytridiomycosis, a fungal disease that eats away the skin of amphibians, has caused dramatic population declines in more than 500 species, including frogs, toads and salamanders.

Researchers of an global study discovered that a deadly fungal disease in amphibians is causing dramatic declines in the creatures' populations. Sixty of the 501 species have shown some signs of recovery, though those have mostly been in individual populations.

According to researchers, virulent diseases such as chytridiomycosis contribute to the planet's ongoing sixth mass extinction.

More than 50 species of Australian frogs have declined because of the disease in the last three decades, seven of which have become completely extinct.

Scientists think the lineage of the chytrid fungus behind the declines once crossed with another lineage and created a more harmful hybrid, the Washington Post reports.

'Humans are moving plants and animals around the world at an increasingly rapid rate, introducing pathogens into new areas'.

It kills amphibians by destroying their skin, damaging their immune systems and even causing heart failure.

Over 90 amphibian species from all over the world have already gone extinct.

'Unprecedented': Flesh Eating Disease Wiping Out Entire Species

Australia, Central America and South America are particularly hard hit.

"We've got to do everything possible to stop future pandemics, by having better control over wildlife trade around the world", said Dr.

A recent study said Bd has been evolving with amphibians for around 40,000 years, meaning some are able to live while being infected.

'Global trade has recreated a functional Pangaea for infectious diseases in wildlife, with far-reaching impacts on biodiversity, livestock, and human health.

'Knowing what species are at risk can help target future research to develop conservation actions to prevent extinctions'.

The study has also called for an urgent improvement into biosecurity and wildlife trade regulation to prevent more extinctions.

He said severe declines of species because of the disease began from the mid-1980s and have continued to today at a global scale.

"Chytrid fungus is the most destructive pathogen ever described by science - that's a pretty shocking realization", Wendy Palen, a biologist at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, told National Geographic. Despite these losses, Scheele credited conservation programs in Australia for preventing further extinctions, in part by developing effective new reintroduction techniques. This is partly because the species that are not affected by the pathogen continue to carry it in their bodies, and thereby act rather like a reservoir for the fungus.

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