Mycoplasmosis and upper respiratory tract disease of tortoises: A review and update

Elliott R. Jacobson, Mary B. Brown, Lori D. Wendland, Daniel R. Brown, Paul A. Klein, Mary M Christopher, Kristin H. Berry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tortoise mycoplasmosis is one of the most extensively characterized infectious diseases of chelonians. A 1989 outbreak of upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) in free-ranging Agassiz's desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) brought together an investigative team of researchers, diagnosticians, pathologists, immunologists and clinicians from multiple institutions and agencies. Electron microscopic studies of affected tortoises revealed a microorganism in close association with the nasal mucosa that subsequently was identified as a new species, Mycoplasma agassizii. Over the next 24years, a second causative agent, Mycoplasma testudineum, was discovered, the geographic distribution and host range of tortoise mycoplasmosis were expanded, diagnostic tests were developed and refined for antibody and pathogen detection, transmission studies confirmed the pathogenicity of the original M.agassizii isolate, clinical (and subclinical) disease and laboratory abnormalities were characterized, many extrinsic and predisposing factors were found to play a role in morbidity and mortality associated with mycoplasmal infection, and social behavior was implicated in disease transmission.The translation of scientific research into management decisions has sometimes led to undesirable outcomes, such as euthanasia of clinically healthy tortoises. In this article, we review and assess current research on tortoise mycoplasmosis, arguably the most important chronic infectious disease of wild and captive North American and European tortoises, and update the implications for management and conservation of tortoises in the wild.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-264
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Journal
Volume201
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

Fingerprint

Respiratory Tract Diseases
mycoplasmosis
Turtles
tortoises
respiratory tract diseases
Gopherus agassizii
Mycoplasma
infectious diseases
Mycoplasma agassizii
Communicable Diseases
microbial detection
research management
nasal mucosa
disease transmission
antibody detection
euthanasia
Infectious Disease Transmission
Euthanasia
Nasal Mucosa
Social Behavior

Keywords

  • Mycoplasma agassizii
  • Mycoplasma testudineum
  • Mycoplasmosis
  • Pathology
  • PCR
  • Serology
  • Tortoise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)

Cite this

Jacobson, E. R., Brown, M. B., Wendland, L. D., Brown, D. R., Klein, P. A., Christopher, M. M., & Berry, K. H. (2014). Mycoplasmosis and upper respiratory tract disease of tortoises: A review and update. Veterinary Journal, 201(3), 257-264. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2014.05.039

Mycoplasmosis and upper respiratory tract disease of tortoises : A review and update. / Jacobson, Elliott R.; Brown, Mary B.; Wendland, Lori D.; Brown, Daniel R.; Klein, Paul A.; Christopher, Mary M; Berry, Kristin H.

In: Veterinary Journal, Vol. 201, No. 3, 01.09.2014, p. 257-264.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Jacobson, ER, Brown, MB, Wendland, LD, Brown, DR, Klein, PA, Christopher, MM & Berry, KH 2014, 'Mycoplasmosis and upper respiratory tract disease of tortoises: A review and update', Veterinary Journal, vol. 201, no. 3, pp. 257-264. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2014.05.039
Jacobson, Elliott R. ; Brown, Mary B. ; Wendland, Lori D. ; Brown, Daniel R. ; Klein, Paul A. ; Christopher, Mary M ; Berry, Kristin H. / Mycoplasmosis and upper respiratory tract disease of tortoises : A review and update. In: Veterinary Journal. 2014 ; Vol. 201, No. 3. pp. 257-264.
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