Microbe Surveillance

PIJAC in collaboration with the University of Tennessee and Washington State University are asking for your help to understand how common harmful and beneficial microbes are in amphibian trade. By working together, we can help the U.S. pet care community establish a healthy trade program that promotes animal wellbeing, reduces revenue losses, and increases customer satisfaction.


  • Estimate the prevalence (% occurrence) of microbes that can cause disease in amphibians, such as chytrid fungi and ranavirus, in international shipments and domestic trade.
  • Estimate the prevalence (% occurrence) of beneficial microbes, such as Bacillus mycoides, that can kill harmful microbes and increase disease resistance in amphibians.
  • Identify shipping and husbandry practices that promote beneficial and reduce harmful microbes. 
  • Combine surveillance data with socioeconomic survey data to identify innovative solutions that promote a healthy, sustainable amphibian pet trade industry in the U.S.


Participants can include any component of the U.S. amphibian trade network that sells amphibians, such as importers, wholesalers, retailers, and hobbyists. Participation is voluntary and involves rubbing a swab over the skin of captive frogs or salamanders (for terrestrial species) or taking a water sample (for aquatic species). Participant anonymity (identity and location) is guaranteed.

Participation benefits:

  • Free Microbe Testing: There is no cost to participate (other than personnel time) – all supplies will be mailed to you with return postage provided.
  • Confidential Results: Microbe results for your business will be provided confidentially through a randomly generated unique ID and login.
  • Prizes: All participants will be entered into a drawing for prizes, including discounts from industry partners (such as Josh’s Frogs and Reptiles by Mack) and gift cards from Krispy Kreme.

If you have questions about participation, please feel free to contact Josh Jones (PIJAC), Jesse Brunner (WSU), or Matt Gray (UTK) at the contact information is below.