Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Disinfection protocols for herpetofaunal pathogens

October 24, 2023

The spread of disease-causing pathogens is a major threat to amphibians and reptiles worldwide (Converse and Greene 2005; Picco et al. 2007; Picco and Collins 2008; St-Amour et al. 2008; O’Hanlon et al. 2018; Scheele et al. 2019). The World Organisation for Animal Health’s global list of notifiable animal diseases includes herpetofaunal diseases caused by infection with Ranavirus spp. (RV) and two chytrid fungi, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and B. salamandrivorans (Bsal; WOAH 2023). Scientists began testing the efficacy of disinfection protocols even before human-assisted transmission of these pathogens
was documented (Johnson et al. 2003; Johnson and Speare 2003; Brem et al. 2007; Bryan et al. 2009), and now guidance exists to determine the appropriate biosecurity measures as personal gear moves between habitats, construction equipment moves between
project areas, and investigators handle multiple animals within a population (Phillot et al. 2010; Gray et al. 2017, 2018; Julian et al. 2020; Olson et al. 2021). People who are engaged in educational, recreational, commercial, or professional activities in wetlands and aquatic habitats play an important role in helping prevent the spread of pathogens and should know how and when to employ appropriate disinfecting procedures. In particular, working groups and regional chapters of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) have developed a variety of educational materials on biosecurity and disinfection for a wide audience (e.g., PARC 2023). Herein, we provide the instructions for the disinfection of field equipment that were recently revised by the Emerging Disease Working Group of Northeast PARC (NEPARC 2022). The impetus for revision was to inform field personnel of
the use of a stronger bleach concentration (ca. 10× stronger) that is needed for effectiveness against Bsal (Van Rooij et al. 2017). This is important for regions where Bsal is currently known to occur (e.g., central Europe) as well as regions where it is presumed absent but could arrive at any time (e.g., North America)

Publication Year 2023
Title Disinfection protocols for herpetofaunal pathogens
Authors Molly C. Bletz, James T. Julian, Megan S. Kirchgessner, James M. Drasher, Paula F. P. Henry, Susan D. Jewell, Pamela T. Meier, Kathy Michelle, Jennifer C. Olori, Kevin J. Oxenrider, Michael J. Ravesi, Scott A. Smith
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Herpetological Review
Index ID 70249970
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Ecological Science Center