Ecopathology and zoonosis in herpetology

(by Albert Martínez-Silvestre)

Since the initial descriptions of diseases in herpetology, during the 70s, these pathologies have progressively grown in relevance. Zoonotic risks, of diseases that can be transmitted to humans, are relatively small and almost exclusively focused on outbreaks of Salmonella in children, old people and immunodepressed people. This factor is especially important in the management of invasive species like Trachemys scripta. In wild species, there exist naturally some self-limiting diseases like melanomas in amphibians. However, the risks of introduction of new diseases in the environment as a consequence of reintroduction projects are really serious. The chytridiomycosis, sparganosis or mucormycosis in amphibians, as well as Herpesvirus in European turtles or Ranavirus in turtles and amphibians are emergent diseases that can seriously compromise some projects of recovery of endangered species. Furthermore, in captivity, parasites may break the equilibrium that they naturally maintain with their hosts in the wild, which must also be taken into account at the time of reintroduction. Finally, the commerce, transport and translocation, either legal or illegal, represent a way of dispersal and introduction of pathogens, as it happens with parasites of turtles or with viral diseases in snakes.

Congress Collaborators

  • Emanuele Fasola
  • Isabel Damas
  • Ariana Moutinho
  • Bárbara Santos
  • Inês Bulhosa
  • Iolanda Rocha
  • Cátia Venâncio
  • Sara Costa
  • Nuno Costa
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