EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization that focuses on local conservation and global health issues, and the U.S. Forest Service announced the release of an online disease tracking portal known as the Global Ranavirus Reporting System (GRRS). Ranaviruses are emerging pathogens capable of causing disease in amphibians, reptiles and fish. “Ranaviruses are a global problem, much like malaria or AIDS. Mapping its distribution will help preserve biodiversity,” stated Dr. David Lesbarrères, Laurentian University. The GRRS was built on the EcoHealth Alliance’s Mantle platform in consultation with the Global Ranavirus Consortium, a network of scientists with ranavirus expertise. The GRRS is an open-source web platform designed for the storage, sharing, and visualization of global ranavirus surveillance data, including diagnostics and genetic isolate differences.  The portal is designed to meet the needs of a wide variety of users inclusive of natural resource managers and researchers. Ranavirus scientists in the field or the lab will be able to upload datasets in multiple formats to the system, where they will be stored for easy download and analysis. GRRS users have fine-grained access controls to protect and share their uploaded datasets, and examine datasets in views appropriate to their content (e.g., tables, maps, and charts).

The scientific community is impressed with the capabilities of the GRRS. “The GRRS fills a critical gap in ranavirus research by providing a user friendly platform for data entry and extraction that will be invaluable for researchers and managers seeking to understand ranavirus epidemiology at multiple scales,” explained Dr. Jason Hoverman, Purdue University. Dr. Stephen Price of University College London added, “Ranaviruses can have severe impacts on amphibians at the community level and the GRRS provides a great tool to share surveillance data. The GRRS has the potential to provide a stronger link between research and wildlife management.”

The GRRS represents a new generation of disease mapping and analysis, with its geospatial references linked to critical case data. Dr. Matt Gray of the Global Ranavirus Consortium stated, “The GRRS will rapidly advance the scientific community’s understanding of ranavirus epidemiology, and help natural resource agencies and other organizations respond intelligently to new outbreaks.  I am certain the GRRS will become a model for future infectious disease reporting and biosurveillance.”

Scientists and veterinarians are encouraged to upload records of ranavirus cases.  As more records are added, the true utility of the GRRS will be recognized.  Please contribute to discussions on the GRRS at: @EcoHealthNYC  @mantle_io  @RanavirusGRC

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