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Killer Frogs Wiping Out Amphibian Species; 1 Found In SF Golden Gate Park

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An African clawed frog. (Stanford University)

An African clawed frog. (Stanford University)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A frog which carries a deadly infection that kills other amphibian species has been found in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, according to researchers.

The infection found in African clawed frogs doesn’t affect humans, but it is decimating the amphibian population around the world, according to study from Stanford University School of Medicine.

Stanford researchers tested 23 African clawed frogs and identified three frogs carrying the fungal pathogen, including one found in Golden Gate Park’s Lily Pond.

The pathogen, known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatis, is responsible for the decline or extinction of about 200 amphibian species worldwide, the report said.

The pathogen is transmitted through the water and the fungal spores can tunnel into the animals’ skin, causing skin thickening, electrolyte imbalance and brain swelling, said Sherril Green, a professor at Stanford and the senior author of the report.

The frogs were first brought to the United States in the early 20th century for the purpose of pregnancy testing.

In the 1920s, it was discovered that injecting the frogs with the urine from pregnant women could spur egg production in them. Hospitals began doing this to determine if women were pregnant, the report said.

The practice was largely discontinued in the 1970s and some of the frogs were released into the wild.

The other two that tested positive were found in San Diego.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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