This is the first book on ranaviruses. Ranaviruses are double-stranded DNA viruses that cause hemorrhagic disease in amphibians, reptiles, and fish. They have caused mass die-offs of ectothermic vertebrates in wild and captive populations around the globe. There is evidence that this pathogen is emerging and responsible for population declines in certain locations. Considering that amphibians and freshwater turtles are suitable hosts and the most imperiled vertebrate taxa in the world, ranaviruses can have significant impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem function. Additionally, many fish that are raised in aquaculture facilities and traded internationally are suitable hosts; thus, the potential economic impact of ranaviruses is significant. Ranaviruses also serve as a model for replication and gene function of large double-stranded DNA viruses. There is an urgent need to assemble the contemporary information on ranaviruses and provide guidance on how to assess their threats in populations.
Through the Global Ranavirus Consortium, 24 experts from six countries were organized to write this volume, the first book on ranaviruses. The book begins with a discussion on the global extent of ranaviruses, case histories of infection and disease in ectothermic vertebrates, and current phylogeny. Basic principles of ranavirus ecology and evolution are covered next, with a focus on host-pathogen interactions and how the virus emerges in its environment. There are two chapters that will discuss the molecular biology of ranaviruses, host response to infection, and the genes responsible for immune system evasion. One chapter establishes standards for testing for infection and diagnosing ranaviral disease. The book ends by providing guidance on how to design ranavirus surveillance studies and analyze data to determine risk, and discussing the role of the Global Ranavirus Consortium in organizing research and outreach activities.
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