Disease killing frogs is linked to goldfish from US

British frogs hit by infection

source: Paul Brown
Guardian January 29 p7

Frogs in London and south east England have been hit by an infection which begins with sores, and is eventually fatal. An estimated 62,000 frogs have died in 3,500 outbreaks, with 2,000 frogs dying in one case. Froglife Trust director, Tom Langton, sees the disease as worst south of a line from Norfolk to Dorset, though there have also been cases in Scotland, Wales, and the Midlands. The cause appears to be a ranavirus imported from the US with goldfish that have been put into British garden ponds. North American bullfrog tadpoles were also imported during the 1980s, and may have been another source of the virus. Reptiles can also catch the disease.

The affected frogs may have been more vulnerable to infection because of poisoning by slug pellets. Their livers have been found to contain extremely high levels of copper, used to colour slug pellets. Frogs may have eaten poisoned slugs, and even pellets attached to the slugs, which would damage the frogs’ immune systems, so leave them more open to infections.