Bullfrogs, often shipped live between continents to be eaten, are spreading the deadly chytrid fungus that is threatening amphibians worldwide, new research indicates.
A team of researchers collected bullfrogs on sale at Asian food stores in seven cities in the United States and found 41 percent of the frogs were infected with the fungus.
The chytrid fungus is harmless to people, but it has caused species declines and even extinctions among amphibians. However, it is not fatal to all amphibians. The fungus doesn't kill the North American bullfrog, the type of frog sampled in this study, making this species an excellent carrier.
Frogs in these U.S. shops are imported live primarily from farms in Taiwan, Brazil and Ecuador. In the United States, the live frogs are then sold for their legs.
The team also looked for fungus at frog farms in Brazil and among several native frog species from Brazil's Atlantic Forest, one of the most amphibian-rich regions in the world.

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