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How To Use The Herpetofauna Disease Alert System (HDAS)



With disease at the forefront of herpetofaunal decline issues, the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) formed the Disease Task Team (DTT) to facilitate and guide communication and collaboration on herpetofaunal diseases among PARC regions, federal and state agencies and other partners. Currently, the DTT is comprised of 16 experts from the United States, Canada and Mexico, and is focused on executing strategies to forestall disease impacts.

Chameleon with bone disease

Long Zhiyong/Shutterstock

To submit an observation of a possible disease case in amphibians or reptiles, simply send an email to herp_disease_alert@parcplace.org.
 

To facilitate communication with the relevant authorities, the DTT created the Herpetofauna Disease Alert System (HDAS). The HDAS involves submitting a report of a disease event (see the information that’s being requested on the following page) to the DTT, at which point a panel of experts will review the submission and the appropriate authorities will be notified. In some cases, the DTT may provide information on possible causes for reported concerns, but primarily th team will act to connect individuals that might see problems in the field with those experts and authorities who can provide an appropriate and timely response.


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When an agency or authority is contacted, the response and decision to communicate with others is theirs to make. The DTT is only a conduit, but members can serve as consultants or subject matter experts if asked.

Many in the wildlife community have assisted in developing the contact list for HDAS referrals, which includes state, federal and provincial representatives with interest in and/or authority for herpetofaunal disease response. A survey will be distributed to specific entities and authorities in order to continue to refine the contact list.

We invite any colleagues with expertise and interest in identifying and responding to herpetofaunal disease concerns to provide the DTT with input pertaining to this alert system, and also whether these same people would be interested in serving as a point of contact. For more information regarding who is notified upon receipt of a valid report, please contact the DTT at parcplace.org/parcplace/resources/disease-task-team.html.

To submit an observation of a possible disease case in amphibians or reptiles, simply send an email to herp_disease_alert@parcplace.org. It is important to include the following information in your email:

  • Your name and e-mail address (for possible follow-up questions)
  • Date of observation
  • What you saw
  • Where it was
  • What types of animals were involved, including species (if you are sure) and life stage (eggs, larvae, subadults, adults)
  • Whether or not it the situation is ongoing (only dead or decayed animals, sick-looking animals that are alive)
  • Any photos or other relevant information

The federal, state or provincial contacts for herpetofaunal diseases will be alerted, and they may contact you for additional information. Following the report, the managing agency will make a decision on whether or not a follow-up action is needed. The HDAS will facilitate early detection and rapid response actions, where possible. It will also aid our understanding of the scope and severity of emerging infectious diseases. Thank you in advance for your help to keep our herps healthy!

Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC)Disease Task Team

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