RAvon created a hygiene protocol in order to limit and prevent the spread of infectious DISEASES and invasive species and RECOMMENDS everyone to adhere to this protocol.

By means of the natural migration of amphibians and (natural) flow of water pathogens like Bsal can spread. These natural processes are very hard to control by humans. The amount of infected material (like substrate, plants and so forth) we transport as humans is something we do have some control over. Humans can spread infected material over very long distances in comparison to amphibians during migration. Examples are field biologists or other fieldworkers that have mud clinging to their boots. In this respect humans can act as so called "vectors" and spread pathogens further and faster than they would normally do. By being aware of this we can takes measures to prevent it and also buy some time while both field- and laboratory trials are run in order to counter/mitigate the effects of Bsal. 

You can find our hygiene protocol here.


Land- and water management

Managing large areas often require working with heavy equipment. For example: a tracked excavator that has been used to excavate a pond often has huge amounts of substrate sticking to it. Tracked excavators, lorries but also other pieces of equipment are often needed at another location very soon after a job is done at the first, often on the same day. Mud and other possibly infected substrate can unintentionally be introduced to another area. Therefor it is very important prior to driving to another location to first clean (hose down) the equipment. This is not only necessary when the equipment is moved from an "infected"  to a "uninfected" site but should be a routine procedure. Ideally equipment is not only cleaned by clean, fresh water but also with a disinfectant like Virkons®S. If such a cleaning procedure is not possible the minimum effort should include removing as much substrate as possible with clean water. By doing so the amount of pathogens that can be transported is reduced. 

YOU CAN FIND OUR HYGIENE PROTOCOL FOR HEAVY EQUIPMENT HERE.


fieldwork/excursions

When organizing excursions or doing fieldwork in wetland areas and other areas with a lots of water extra precaution should be taken. Not only excursions and fieldwork targeted at amphibians but also water plants, dragon- and damselflies, fishes, macrofauna and water quality assessments for example hygiene protocols need to be taken in consideration. Especially when multiple sites are visited in one day pathogenic fungi, viruses and other harmful organisms can be transferred to multiple sites via boots, buckets, dipping nets and containers. When in the field it is advised to bring a spray bottle with a solution of a disinfectant and disinfect field equipment and your boots between sites. Another option is to bring multiple sets of field equipment and strictly separate used and unused sets (you still need to disinfect your boots between sites). Afterwards all sets of field equipment need to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.  Talk to each other about the dangers of not adhering to hygiene protocols. Together, we can help limit the spread of these dangerous pathogens.

 


Dogs,cattle, horses and other grazers, ducks and other water fowl 

A remark that is often brought up is that ducks, geese, herons but also free ranging cattle and dogs can visit a pond and soon after visit another pond, thus possible transferring pathogens from site to site. This is a valid and true remark. The feet of water fowl kan transfer fungi, viruses and other pathogens from one site to another which cannot be prevented. This is however not an excuse for us as humans not to adhere to hygiene protocols and do our best not to act as vectors for pathogens. The amount of infectious material we can transfer from site to site is much larger than water fowl. Hence, can be a greater source of infection than any bird can be. In the case of free ranging cattle it is often not a very good idea to let them have acces to a pond (eutrophication). Often the animals are confined (in the Netherlands) to a relatively small area and their capacity to transfer infectious material from site to site is limited. Dogs are often also limited (depending on their owners) to a relatively small area and often only visit one area per day. After a swim dogs are often already dry by the time their walk has ended. We do recommend to let dogs swim in only one body of water per walk to reduce the risk of cross contamination. 

Aquarium-, terrarium- and garden pond owners

Keeping or breeding amphibians and/or fishes at home in an aquarium, terrarium or in a pond in the garden is a wonderful way of observing these animals up close. Make sure you always buy captive bred animals from a reputable breeder (not wild caught animals which may harbor pathogens). If possible check with the breeder if captive bred amphibians have been tested for Bd, Bsal and ranaviruses (ask for veterinary proof of this). Exotic salamanders (and other exotic amphibians) should never be released in a garden pond. Do not trade (or give) water plants, frog- and toad spawn, salamander eggs, fishes, amphibians or other aquatic organisms with your neighbors, friends or acquaintances. When your pond is suitable wildlife will find it. 

Special attention should be given while cleaning an aquarium or terrarium. Do not dispose the water, substrate and other materials in the garden. Treat them with a disinfectant first (for example Virkon®S) and dispose them afterwards (not in the garden but for example in the case of water to the sewage system).