Ranaviruses are pathogenic viruses for poikilothermic vertebrates worldwide. The identification of a common midwife toad virus (CMTV) associated with massive die-offs in water frogs (Pelophylax spp.) in Netherlands has increased awareness for emerging viruses in amphibians in the country. Complete genome sequencing of 13 ranavirus isolates collected from ten different sites in the period 2011-2016 revealed three CMTV groups present in distinct geographical areas in Netherlands. Phylogenetic analysis showed that emerging viruses from the northern part of Netherlands belonged to CMTV-NL group I. Group II and III viruses were derived from the animals located in the center-east and south of the country, and shared a more recent common ancestor to CMTV-amphibian associated ranaviruses reported in China, Italy, Denmark, and Switzerland. Field monitoring revealed differences in water frog host abundance at sites where distinct ranavirus groups occur; with ranavirus-associated deaths, host counts decreasing progressively, and few juveniles found in the north where CMTV-NL group I occurs but not in the south with CMTV-NL group III. Investigation of tandem repeats of coding genes gave no conclusive information about phylo-geographical clustering, while genetic analysis of the genomes revealed truncations in 17 genes across CMTV-NL groups II and III compared to group I. Further studies are needed to elucidate the contribution of these genes as well as environmental variables to explain the observed differences in host abundance.
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