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Deadly Amphibian Fungus Finally Has a Successful, New Treatment

First Posted: Nov 18, 2015 09:40 AM EST

Scientists may have discovered a way to eliminate a killer fungus. They've detailed the first-ever successful elimination of a fata chytrid fungus in a wild amphibian, which could be huge when fighting the devastating disease.

The latest findings are the results from a seven-year study. This is the first ever evidence that eradicating the chytrid pathogen may be possible, which could help re-establish amphibian populations.

The researchers combined antifungal treatment of Mallorcan midwife toad (Alytes muletensis) tadpoles with environmental disinfection. By using an antifungal to treat tadpoles and a common lab decontaminant to sterilize the environment, the researchers were able to clear infection from populations of the toad over the research period.

"This study represents a major breakthrough in the fight against this highly-destructive pathogen; for the first time we have managed to rid wild individuals of infection for a continued period," said Trenton Garner, co-author of the new study, in a news release. "Amphibian-associated chytrid fungi are a critical conservation issue that requires simple, straightforward and transferrable solutions. Ourstudy is a significant step towards providing these."

The findings are a huge positive when it comes to eliminating this disease. Because the highly-infectious chytrid pathogen has severely affected over 700 amphibian species worldwide, it's more important than ever to take steps to conserve these populations. By developing a treatment, scientists are giving these populations a leg up when it comes to their future survival.

The findings are published in the journal Biology Letters.

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