Ranavirus testing and diagnostics

While ranavirus infections can produce obvious signs of illness (morbidity), including behavioral changes (i.e., erratic swimming, buoyancy problems, lethargy, and anorexia) and gross physical signs (e.g., swollen legs and body, red blotches or pinpoint hemorrhages), these signs are not always present or diagnostic of ranaviruses. Thus, it is important to diagnose the causes of morbidity before making conclusions. There are several diagnostic tools to determine if individuals are infected with ranavirus (e.g., polymerase chain reaction [PCR], virus isolation, electron microscopy), and whether ranavirus is the cause of morbidity (e.g., histopathology, quantitative PCR with viral load estimates, immunohistochemistry). In general, the more evidence that is provided increases the certainty (and cost) of the diagnosis.

  • Instructions on shipping freshly dead or morbid individuals to a diagnostic laboratory are available at: http://www.separc.org/products/diseases-and-parasites-of-herpetofauna (information sheet #9).
  • To better understand (and report) diagnostic results, please see the list of Commonly Misused Epidemiological and Veterinary Terms.
  • If at all possible please contact the laboratory that will be screening your samples before you collect samples.
  • For more guidance on how, when, and where to sample; issues of sample sizes to collect; biosecurity; and diagnostic methods, please see two recent open-access book chapters listed below.

For more information see:

  • Miller, D.E., A.P. Pessier, P. Hick, and R. J. Whittington. 2015. Comparative Pathology of Ranaviruses and Diagnostic Techniques. in Gray, M. J., and V. G. Chinchar, editors. Ranaviruses: Lethal pathogens of ectothermic vertebrates. Springer, Secaucus, New Jersey, USA. (open access)
  • Gray, M.J., J.L. Brunner, J.E. Earl, and E. Ariel. 2015. Design and analyses of ranavirus studies: Surveillance and assessing risk.in Gray, M. J., and V. G. Chinchar, editors. Ranaviruses: Lethal pathogens of ectothermic vertebrates. Springer, Secaucus, New Jersey, USA. (open access)

  • Green, D. E., M. J. Gray, and D. L. Miller. 2009. Disease monitoring and biosecurity. Pages 481-505 in: C. K. Dodd, editor. Amphibian Ecology and Conservation: A Handbook of Techniques. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

List of laboratories that test for ranavirus:

Last updated April 2014. Note: If you would like to add (or remove) your lab or company information from this list, please email us at web@ranavirus.org

AfricaWildlife Disease Laboratory (WESCA regional Collaborating Center)
Razi Research Institute
Karaj - Iran
+98 9195668547
Email: s.fereidouni@wesca.net
Diagnostic and Research LaboratoryDr. Sasan FereidouniPathology, molecular testing (PCR, qPCR)
AsiaAzabu University
Laboratory of Veterinary Pathology
School of Veterinary Medicine
1-17-11 Fuchinobe, Sagamihara
Kanagawa 229-8501 JAPAN
Email: une@azabu-u.ac.jp
Research LaboratoryDr. Yumi UnePCR, MCP sequencing, genomic sequencing, virus culture, histology
AustraliaJames Cook University
School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Douglas Campus, 4811, Queensland
Office phone: +61747814123
Email: Ellen.Ariel@jcu.edu.au
Research LaboratoryDr. Ellen Arielviral culture, histology, immunohistochemistry
AustraliaUniversity of Sydney
Faculty of Veterinary Science
Private Mail Bag 3
425 Werombi Road
Camden NSW, 2570
Email: richard.whittington@sydney.edu.au
Diagnostic and Research Laboratory (note: OIE laboratory for ranavirus testing)Dr. Richard WhittingtonPCR, qPCR, MCP sequencing, virus culture, histology
EuropeGhent University
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases
Salisburylaan 133
B-9820 Merelbeke
++32 9 2647441
Email: An.Martel@ugent.be
Research LaboratoryDr. An Martelnecropsy, histopathology, molecular testing (PCR, qPCR)
EuropeLaboklin GmbH + Co KG
Steubenstr. 4
97688 Bad Kissingen
+49 / 971-7202-0
Email: rachel.marschang@googlemail.com
Diagnostic LaboratoryDr. Rachel MarschangPCR, histopathology
EuropeUtrecht University
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Androclus Building
Yalelaan 1, De Uithof
3584 CL Utrecht
The Netherlands
+31 (0)30 253 90 00
Email: J.M.Rijks@uu.nl
Diagnostic LaboratoryDr. Jolianne RijksPCR, histopathology
EuropeZoological Society of London
Regent’s Park
London, United Kingdom NW1 4RY
020 7449 6674
Email: A.Cunningham@IOZ.AC.UK
Research LaboratoryDr. Andrew CunninghamqPCR
North AmericaPisces Molecular
1600 Range Street, Suite 201
Boulder CO 80301 USA
Email: jwood@pisces-molecular.com
Diagnostic LaboratoryDr. John WoodPCR, qPCR, MCP sequencing
North AmericaUSGS National Wildlife Health Center
6006 Schroeder Rd.
Madison, WI 53711-6223 USA
Email: degreen@usgs.gov or hip@usgs.gov
Diagnostic LaboratoryDrs. David Green or Hon IpPCR, qPCR, MCP sequencing, virus culture, EM, histopathology
North AmericaUniversity of Florida
Wildlife and Aquatic Animal Veterinary Disease Laboratory
College of Veterinary Medicine
2173 Mowry Road, Bldg #1379
Gainesville FL 32611 USA
352-273-5202 or 352-392-2235
Email: tbwaltzek@ufl.edu or wellehanj@ufl.edu
Diagnostic and Research Laboratory Drs. Thomas Waltzek or James WellehanPCR, qPCR, virus culture, MCP sequencing
North AmericaUniversity of South Dakota
Biology Department
414 E. Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069 USA
605- 677-6170
Email: Jacob.Kerby@usd.edu
Research LaboratoryDr. Jake KirbyqPCR
North AmericaUniversity of Tennessee
Center for Wildlife Health
274 Ellington Plant Sciences Building
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-2740 or 865-974-7948
Email: dmille42@utk.edu
or mgray11@utk.edu
Diagnostic and Research LaboratoryDrs. Debra Miller and Matthew GrayPCR, qPCR, virus culture, MCP sequencing, histology
North AmericaUniversity of Tennessee
UTVMC Virology/Serology Service
Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Sciences
2407 River Drive, Room A239
Knoxville TN 37996-4543 USA
Email: virology@utk.edu
Diagnostic and Research LaboratoryDr. Rebecca WilkesqPCR, virus isolation
North AmericaZoologix Inc.
9811 Owensmouth Avenue, Suite 4
Chatsworth CA 91311-3800 USA
Email: info@zoologix.com
Diagnostic LaboratoryqPCR
South AmericaLaboratório Interinstitucional de Sanidade em Aquicultura
Centro de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento em Sanidade Animal
Instituto Biológico
Av. Cons. Rodrigues Alves, 1252
04014-002 São Paulo SP Brasil
55 11 5087-1760
Email: hipolito@biologico.sp.gov.br or crisfm@biologico.sp.gov.br
Diagnostic and Research LaboratoryDr. Márcio HipólitoEM, histology, immunohistochemistry, In situ hybridization, qPCR
South AmericaUniversidade Federal de Goiás
Centro de Pesquisa em Alimentos
Escola de Veterinária e Zootecnia
Campus Samambaia, 74.690-900
Goiânia-GO, Brasil
55 62 3521-1576
Email: rolo1001@gmail.com or cpapesquisa@gmail.com
Diagnostic and Research LaboratoryDr. Rolando Mazzonihistology and qPCR