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1.  Ranavirus infections associated with skin lesions in lizards 
Veterinary Research  2013;44(1):84.
Ranaviral disease in amphibians has been studied intensely during the last decade, as associated mass-mortality events are considered to be a global threat to wild animal populations. Several studies have also included other susceptible ectothermic vertebrates (fish and reptiles), but only very few cases of ranavirus infections in lizards have been previously detected. In this study, we focused on clinically suspicious lizards and tested these animals for the presence of ranaviruses. Virological screening of samples from lizards with increased mortality and skin lesions over a course of four years led to the detection of ranaviral infections in seven different groups. Affected species were: brown anoles (Anolis sagrei), Asian glass lizards (Dopasia gracilis), green anoles (Anolis carolinensis), green iguanas (Iguana iguana), and a central bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps). Purulent to ulcerative-necrotizing dermatitis and hyperkeratosis were diagnosed in pathological examinations. All animals tested positive for the presence of ranavirus by PCR and a part of the major capsid protein (MCP) gene of each virus was sequenced. Three different ranaviruses were isolated in cell culture. The analyzed portions of the MCP gene from each of the five different viruses detected were distinct from one another and were 98.4-100% identical to the corresponding portion of the frog virus 3 (FV3) genome. This is the first description of ranavirus infections in these five lizard species. The similarity in the pathological lesions observed in these different cases indicates that ranaviral infection may be an important differential diagnosis for skin lesions in lizards.
PMCID: PMC3850657  PMID: 24073785
2.  Tolerance of fungal infection in European water frogs exposed to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis after experimental reduction of innate immune defenses 
While emerging diseases are affecting many populations of amphibians, some populations are resistant. Determining the relative contributions of factors influencing disease resistance is critical for effective conservation management. Innate immune defenses in amphibian skin are vital host factors against a number of emerging pathogens such as ranaviruses and the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Adult water frogs from Switzerland (Pelophylax esculentus and P. lessonae) collected in the field with their natural microbiota intact were exposed to Bd after experimental reduction of microbiota, skin peptides, both, or neither to determine the relative contributions of these defenses.
Naturally-acquired Bd infections were detected in 10/51 P. lessonae and 4/19 P. esculentus, but no disease outbreaks or population declines have been detected at this site. Thus, this population was immunologically primed, and disease resistant. No mortality occurred during the 64 day experiment. Forty percent of initially uninfected frogs became sub-clinically infected upon experimental exposure to Bd. Reduction of both skin peptide and microbiota immune defenses caused frogs to gain less mass when exposed to Bd than frogs in other treatments. Microbiota-reduced frogs increased peptide production upon Bd infection. Ranavirus was undetectable in all but two frogs that appeared healthy in the field, but died within a week under laboratory conditions. Virus was detectable in both toe-clips and internal organs.
Intact skin microbiota reduced immune activation and can minimize subclinical costs of infection. Tolerance of Bd or ranavirus infection may differ with ecological conditions.
PMCID: PMC3485127  PMID: 23088169
Amphibian; Antimicrobial peptide; Chytridiomycosis; MALDI-MS; Microbiota; Pelophylax; Ranavirus
3.  Persistence of Avian Influenza Viruses in Lake Sediment, Duck Feces, and Duck Meat ▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2011;77(14):4981-4985.
The persistence of 3 low-pathogenicity avian influenza viruses (LPAIV) (H4N6, H5N1, and H6N8) and one human influenza virus (H1N1) as well as Newcastle disease virus (NDV) and enteric cytopathogenic bovine orphan (ECBO) virus was investigated in lake sediment, duck feces, and duck meat at 30, 20, 10, and 0°C using a germ carrier technique. Virus-loaded germ carriers were incubated in each substrate, and residual infectivity of the eluted virus was quantified on cell culture after regular intervals for a maximum of 24 weeks. Data were analyzed by a linear regression model to calculate T90 values (time required for 90% loss of virus infectivity) and estimated persistence of the viruses. In general, the persistence of all of the viruses was highest in lake sediment, followed by feces, and was the lowest in duck meat at all temperatures. For the avian influenza virus subtypes, T90 values in sediment ranged from 5 to 11, 13 to 18, 43 to 54, and 66 to 394 days at 30, 20, 10, and 0°C, respectively, which were 2 to 5 times higher than the T90 values of the viruses in the feces and meat. Although the individual viruses vary in tenacity, the survival time of influenza viruses was shorter than that of NDV and ECBO virus in all substrates. The results of this study suggest that lake sediment may act as a long-term source of influenza viruses in the aquatic habitat, while the viruses may remain infectious for extended periods of time in duck feces and meat at low temperatures, allowing persistence of the viruses in the environment over winter.
PMCID: PMC3147373  PMID: 21622783
4.  Viruses Infecting Reptiles 
Viruses  2011;3(11):2087-2126.
A large number of viruses have been described in many different reptiles. These viruses include arboviruses that primarily infect mammals or birds as well as viruses that are specific for reptiles. Interest in arboviruses infecting reptiles has mainly focused on the role reptiles may play in the epidemiology of these viruses, especially over winter. Interest in reptile specific viruses has concentrated on both their importance for reptile medicine as well as virus taxonomy and evolution. The impact of many viral infections on reptile health is not known. Koch’s postulates have only been fulfilled for a limited number of reptilian viruses. As diagnostic testing becomes more sensitive, multiple infections with various viruses and other infectious agents are also being detected. In most cases the interactions between these different agents are not known. This review provides an update on viruses described in reptiles, the animal species in which they have been detected, and what is known about their taxonomic positions.
PMCID: PMC3230843  PMID: 22163336
reptile; taxonomy; iridovirus; herpesvirus; adenovirus; paramyxovirus
5.  Comparison of the Sensitivities of Noroviruses and Feline Calicivirus to Chemical Disinfection under Field-Like Conditions▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2007;73(17):5494-5500.
Noroviruses (NV), in the family Caliciviridae, are an important cause of gastroenteritis in humans worldwide. Measures for prevention and control of NV dissemination are therefore necessary to ensure public safety. The abilities of an organic acid (Venno Vet 1 Super), an aldehyde (Venno FF Super), a halogen compound (sodium hypochlorite solution), and a peroxide (Oxystrong FG) to inactivate feline calicivirus (FCV), a cultivable virus surrogate for NV, were studied. Molecular protocols were then used for the comparative evaluation of disinfectant efficacies against NV and FCV, which were tested by reproducing NV field conditions, using human fecal material as a protein load. Generally, disinfectant efficacy was strongly reduced by the organic impurities (feces) used during tests. All disinfectants, except the aldehyde, were effective on FCV, as measured by cell culture and reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR), with inactivation levels of ≥99.9%. The glutaraldehyde-based compound failed to adequately inactivate FCV according to RT-PCR results, although the infectivity in cell culture was completely abolished. Similar inactivation levels were achieved with NV, but generally NV appeared more resistant than FCV, and consequently, the suitability of FCV as a model for NV should be considered with caution. In conclusion, according to RT-PCR results, 5% Venno Vet 1 Super, 1% Oxystrong FG, and not less than 2% Venno FF Super, with a contact time of 1 h, and 1% sodium hypochlorite, with 6,000 ppm of free chlorine and a contact time of 15 min, are required for safe disinfection when a calicivirus-related outbreak is suspected.
PMCID: PMC2042067  PMID: 17616619
6.  Molecular Epidemiology of Norovirus in Outbreaks of Gastroenteritis in Southwest Germany from 2001 to 2004 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;44(4):1262-1267.
The identification and molecular epidemiology of norovirus in outbreaks of gastroenteritis were studied during a 3-year period in Germany. Specimens (n = 316) from 159 nonbacterial gastroenteritis outbreaks from March 2001 to June 2004 were analyzed for the presence of noroviruses by reverse transcriptase PCR. Outbreaks were most frequent in elderly people's homes and care centers (43%), followed by hospitals (24%). Molecular analyses of strains from 148 outbreaks showed that there were up to 12 genotypes involved in the outbreaks. Genogroup II noroviruses were responsible for 95% of the outbreaks. Cocirculation of more than one strain in the same outbreak and cocirculation of genogroup I and II strains in the same place were observed. Genogroup II4 (Grimsby-like) was the most prevalent strain, accounting for 48% and 67% of the outbreaks in 2002 and 2003, respectively. The genogroup IIb (Castell/Suria) genotype was observed in all the years of the study. Epidemiological and molecular data indicated that there was a major shift of the predominant strain that coincided with the appearance of a new variant of genogroup II4 in 2002. By the application of reverse transcriptase PCR, this study has demonstrated the importance and dynamism of noroviruses in Germany.
PMCID: PMC1448665  PMID: 16597849

Results 1-6 (6)