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[  -  ]  "Whole genome characterization of a chelonian orthoreovirus strain identifies significant genetic diversity and may classify reptile orthoreoviruses into distinct species. "
Virus Research, Volume 215, 2 April 2016, Pages 94–98. ELSEVIER
(Kugler R, Marschang RE, Ihász K, Lengyel G, Jakab F, Bányai K, Farkas S.)

In this study we report the sequence and phylogenetic characterization of an orthoreovirus strain, CH1197/96, isolated from a spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) on chicken embryo fibroblast cells. The 23,957bp long genome sequence was obtained by combined use of semiconductor and capillary sequencing. Although the genomic characterization showed that the virus was most similar to the bush viper reovirus strain, 47/02, and in phylogenies performed with all segments the two strains formed a monophyletic group, the nucleotide (48.4-70.3%) and amino acid (39.2-80.7%) sequence identity values were moderate between the two reptile origin reoviruses. Based on our results and existing classification criteria for the genus Orthoreovirus, the tortoise reovirus strain CH1197/96 might be the first representative of a novel reptilian origin Orthoreovirus species.

[  -  ]  "Virus distribution and detection in corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) after experimental infection with three different ferlavirus strains."
Vet Mircrobiol 182, 2016: p.213-222.   doi:10.1016/j.vetmic.2015.11.024.

(Pees M, Neul A, Müller K, Schmidt V, Truyen U, Leineceker N, Marschang RE)

Ferlaviruses are important pathogens of snakes. However, factors influencing the pathogenicity of individual isolates as well as optimal protocols for virus detection in tissues of infected snakes have been insufficiently studied. The objectives of this study were to compare virus detection using previously described PCR and cell culture protocols following infection with three genetically distinct ferlaviruses in corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) as a model species. Groups of 12 corn snakes were each inoculated intratracheally with a genogroup A, B, or C ferlavirus. Tracheal washes and cloacal swabs were tested for virus shedding on days 16 and 28. Three animals were each euthanized on days 4, 16, 28, and 49. Beside immunohistochemistry of lung tissue, several organs (lung, intestine, pancreas, kidney, brain) were tested for the presence of ferlavirus. Distinct differences were noted in the pathogenicity of the three viruses, with a genotype B isolate causing the greatest pathology. PCR was more sensitive in comparison to cell culture, but results varied depending on the tissues. Ferlaviruses spread rapidly into the tissues, including the brain. Overall average detection rate was 72%, and was highest on day 16. There were differences between the groups, with the most virulent strain causing 100% positive samples at the end of the study. Some snakes were able to clear the infection. Shedding via cloaca was seen only on day 28. For ante-mortem sampling, a tracheal wash sample is recommended, for post mortem diagnosis, a pooled organ sample should be tested.


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