Population declines are reported in over 30 per cent of amphibian species worldwide. Amphibian chytridiomycosis, caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is increasingly recognised as a significant driver of amphibian species extinctions. The emergence in 2013 of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bs) in the Netherlands and Belgium presents a new threat to European amphibians, and a challenge for scientists, conservationists and governmental animal health and environment agencies. The Bs fungus was found to be the causative agent of a cutaneous ulcerative disease of fire salamanders with a high mortality rate at two sites in the Low Countries. There is no evidence that Bs is present in the UK but studies show that the great crested newt is highly susceptible to this pathogen.
At the event, 'The devourer of newts: a novel chytrid fungus on Britain’s doorstep', the discovery of Bs, the likely impact of its arrival in the UK and the employment of wildlife disease-surveillance schemes to detect incursion of novel pathogens in the UK were among the topics discussed.
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