A 5 yr survey (1985 to 1989) revealed that the prevalence of frog erythrocytic virus (FEV) was significantly higher in juveniles than in adult bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) in Algonquin Park, Ontario (Canada). The prevalence of infection in juveniles declined during May and June and increased in early August, persisting until late September. Tadpoles were not infected naturally with FEV, but were susceptible to experimental infection. Experimental data indicate that FEV is neither waterborne, nor transmitted by the oral route, nor by the leech Desserobdella picta. The virus may be transmitted mechanically by the mosquito Culex territans, or the midge Forcipomyia (Lasiohelea) fairfaxensis. Nine percent recapture of marked uninfected frogs versus 4% recapture of infected animals suggests that FEV contributes to mortality of juvenile bullfrogs. Infected erythrocytes were transformed from ellipsoidal to spheroidal cells, some of which contained flattened elongate, trapezoidal inclusions. There was no evidence of denatured hemoglobin or significant change in the hemoglobin content of infected cells. Anemia recorded in heavily infected animals was not attributable to an increased osmotic fragility of infected erythrocytes.
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Vol. 28 • No. 1