Deadly fungus expanding in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany 

March 2016

The deadly fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (or Bsal for short) emerged in the Netherlands in 2010 and nearly wiping out all the Fire salamanders in South Limburg (a region in the Southern tip of the Netherlands). Further investigations since then conducted mostly in 2014 and 2015 by RAVON and an international group of researchers demonstrated that Bsal has been expanding its range. The deadly fungus has now reached Belgium and the German region called "the Eifel". Far north from the initial outbreak region in Limburg Bsal has also been detected (near the city Nijmegen). 

Aside from this dramatic range expansion two additional (wild) host species have been identified, the Smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) and the Alpine newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris). Under laboratory conditions it was already known that these species are vulnerable for Bsal and this research now confirms that in wild conditions these species do get infected. Of the total 55 sites that were sampled Bsal was found in 14 of these. Earlier this year this study was published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases and can be found HERE. 

 

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