Water sports could contribute to the translocation of ranaviruses
Casai, R., A. R. Larrinaga, K. P. Dalto, P. D. Lapido, I. Márquez, E. Bécares, E. D. Carter, M. J. Gray, D. L. Miller, and A. Balseiro.  2020.  International Conference of the Wildlife Disease Association, Cuenca, Spain.  (invited)

Ranaviruses have been identified as the cause of explosive disease outbreaks in amphibians worldwide and can be transmitted between hosts both via direct and indirect contact, in which humans might contribute to the translocation of contaminated material. The aim of this study was to evaluate the possible role of water sports in the human translocation of ranavirus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and B. salamandrivorans (Bsal). A total of 234 boats were sampled during the spring Spanish Canoe Championship which took place in Pontillón de Castro, a reservoir with a history of ranavirosis, in May 2017. Boats were tested for the presence of ranavirus and Batrachochytrium spp. DNA, using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction techniques (qPCR). A total of 22 swabs (22/234, 9.40%) yielded qPCR-positive results for Ranavirus DNA while Bd or Bsal were not detected in any of the samples. This research demonstrates for the first time how water-related sports such as kayaking can be a source of pathogen pollution for amphibians. Other human activities such as fishing and swimming could be additional sources through contaminated equipment, and need to be investigated. Our results provide justification for public disinfecting stations in key areas where human traffic from water sports is high.