(ISNS) -- African frogs once imported to laboratories and hospitals around the world may have carried with them a devastating fungal infection thought to be responsible for a rapid, global decline in amphibians, according to new research.
The fungus is called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd for short.
Amphibians have been dying in large numbers in every continent except Antarctica since the late 1980s and this fungus has been blamed as a large contributing factor since the late 1990s. But researchers haven't proven how Bd could have spread so quickly from Africa, where it was first found in the wild in the 1930s.
The new research, published online May 15 in the journal PLOS One, strengthens the ties between the proliferation of the disease and the worldwide spread of Xenopus laevis, the African clawed frog. The frogs were popular in the early- and mid-20th century for use in pregnancy tests. Scientists still use them in laboratory experiments.
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