DAO 111:207-217 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02782

Fibropapillomatosis in green turtles Chelonia mydas in Brazil: characteristics of tumors and virus

C. R. Rodenbusch1,*, C. Baptistotte2, M. R. Werneck3, T. T. Pires4, M. T. D. Melo5, M. W. de Ataíde6, K. D. H. L. dos Reis6, P. Testa1, M. M. Alieve6, C. W. Canal1

1Laboratory of Virology, Veterinary Medicine College, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Bento Gonçalves 9090, Porto Alegre, 915640-000 RS, Brazil
2Projeto TAMAR/ICMBio—Av. Paulino Muller 1111, Vitória, 29040-715 ES, Brazil
3Bw Consultoria Veterinária—R. Ponciano Eugênio Duarte 203, Ubatuba, 11680-000 SP, Brazil
4Fundação Pro-Tamar—Rua Rubens Guelli 134 / 307, Salvador, 41815-135 BA, Brazil
5Fundação Pro-Tamar—Acesso Projeto TAMAR 151, Almofala, 62592-000 CE, Brazil
6Veterinary Medicine Hospital, Veterinary Medicine College, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Bento Gonçalves 9090, Porto Alegre, 91540-000 RS, Brazil
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Fibropapillomatosis (FP) is a benign neoplasia that affects physiological functions of sea turtles and may lead to death. High prevalence of FP in sea turtle populations has prompted several research groups to study the disease and the associated herpesvirus, chelonid herpesvirus 5  (ChHV5). The present study detected and quantified ChHV5 in 153 fibropapilloma samples collected from green turtles Chelonia mydas on the Brazilian coast between 2009 and 2010 to characterize the relationship between viral load and tumor characteristics. Of the tumor samples collected, 73 and 87% were positive for ChHV5 in conventional PCR and real-time PCR, respectively, and viral loads ranged between 1 and 118.62 copies cell-1. Thirty-three percent of turtles were mildly, 28% were moderately and 39% were severely affected with FP. Skin samples were used as negative control. High viral loads correlated positively with increasing FP severity in turtles sampled on the Brazilian coast and with samples from turtles found dead in the states of São Paulo and Bahia. Six viral variants were detected in tumor samples, 4 of which were similar to the Atlantic phylogenetic group. Two variants were similar to the western Atlantic/eastern Caribbean phylogenetic group. Co-infection in turtles with more than one variant was observed in the states of São Paulo and Bahia.


KEY WORDS: Green turtle · Chelonia mydas · Fibropapillomatosis · Chelonid herpesvirus 5 · Real-time PCR · Genotyping


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Cite this article as: Rodenbusch CR, Baptistotte C, Werneck MR, Pires TT and others (2014) Fibropapillomatosis in green turtles Chelonia mydas in Brazil: characteristics of tumors and virus. Dis Aquat Org 111:207-217. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02782

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