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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1986 Nov 1;189(9):1020-3.

Conjunctivitis, tracheitis, and pneumonia associated with herpesvirus infection in green sea turtles.

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Department of Special Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville 32610.


Fourteen juvenile (15- to 20-month-old) green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), representative of a group of sea turtles with clinical signs of respiratory tract disease, were euthanatized and submitted for necropsy. Macroscopically, lesions included periglottal necrosis, tracheitis with intraluminal caseous and laminated necrotic debris, and severe pneumonia. Several turtles had caseous conjunctival exudate covering the eyes. Microscopically, the turtles had fibrinonecrotic inflammation around the glottal opening, tracheitis, and severe bronchopneumonia and interstitial pneumonia. In multifocal areas, periglottal and tracheal epithelial cells adjacent to areas of necrosis had hypertrophic nuclei with amphophilic intranuclear inclusions. A mixed population of primarily gram-negative microorganisms was isolated from the tracheal and glottal lesions. Attempts at viral isolation in cultures of green sea turtle kidney cells resulted in the development of cytopathic effects characterized by giant cell formation and development of intranuclear inclusions. Using electron microscopy, intranuclear viral particles (88 to 99 nm in diameter) were seen in inclusion-containing tracheal and glottal epithelial cells and infected green sea turtle kidney cells; particles were consistently seen enveloping from nuclear membranes, and mature particles (132 to 147 nm) were found in the cytoplasm. On the basis of size, conformation, location, and presence of an envelope, the particles most closely resembled those of herpes-viruses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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