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The fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which is the etiological agent of the disease chytridiomycosis, is threatening both wild and captive amphibians. While there are some methods of treating amphibians in captivity, no method has yet been shown to be a promising treatment for amphibian populations in natural habitats. Here we present the results of a laboratory experiment in which we tested 2 antifungal agents that might be used to treat amphibians in the field. As a first step towards the goal of developing mitigation methods, we tested the efficiency of these agents in reducing Bd prevalence and loads (zoospore counts) in the laboratory. We exposed naturally infected tadpoles of the midwife toad Alytes obstetricans to different concentrations of the antifungal agents for 7 d. We found that Virkon Aquatic® affected neither Bd prevalence nor loads. At 0.625 ml l-1 of General Tonic®, prevalence was reduced to 60%, and infected animals had greatly reduced burdens. However, tadpole length was reduced by 19% and mass by 32% on average compared to the control group, suggesting a negative effect on fitness. Tadpole survival was not affected at 0.625 ml l-1 or 1.25 ml l-1, but was reduced to 60% at 2.5 ml l-1. Keeping animals in a dilution of General Tonic® for 7 d at a concentration of 0.625 ml l-1 might be an easy way to reduce zoospore counts in large numbers of animals at relatively low cost.


Corina C Geiger, Benedikt R Schmidt. Laboratory tests of antifungal agents to treat tadpoles against the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis . Diseases of aquatic organisms. 2013 Apr 11;103(3):191-7

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PMID: 23574705

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