Systemic adenovirus infection in Sulawesi tortoises (Indotestudo forsteni) caused by a novel siadenovirus

Sam Rivera, James F X Wellehan, Rita McManamon, Charles J. Innis, Michael M. Garner, Bonnie L. Raphael, Christopher R. Gregory, Kenneth S. Latimer, Carlos E. Rodriguez, Orlando Diaz-Figueroa, Annajane B. Marlar, Carol A Nyaoke, Amy E. Gates, Kelly Gilbert, April L. Childress, Guillermo R. Risatti, Salvatore Frasca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


A novel siadenovirus was identified in the Sulawesi tortoise (Indotestudo forsteni). A group of 105 Sulawesi tortoises was obtained by the Turtle Survival Alliance. Many of the tortoises were in poor health. Clinical signs included anorexia, lethargy, mucosal ulcerations and palatine erosions of the oral cavity, nasal and ocular discharge, and diarrhea. Initial diagnostic tests included fecal testing for parasites, complete blood count and plasma biochemical analysis, mycoplasma serology, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for intranuclear coccidia and chelonian herpesvirus. Treatment included administration of antibiotics, antiparasitic medications, parenteral fluids, and nutritional support. Tissue samples from animals that died were submitted for histopathologic evaluation. Histopathologic examination revealed systemic inflammation and necrosis associated with intranuclear inclusions consistent with a systemic viral infection in 35 tortoises out of 50 examined. Fecal testing results and histopathologic findings revealed intestinal and hepatic amoebiasis and nematodiasis in 31 animals. Two of 5 tortoises tested by PCR were positive for Chlamydophila sp. Aeromonas hydrophila and Escherichia coli were cultured from multiple organs of 2 animals. The mycoplasma serology and PCR results for intranuclear coccidia and chelonian herpesvirus were negative. Polymerase chain reaction testing of tissues, plasma, and choanal/cloacal samples from 41 out of 42 tortoises tested were positive for an adenovirus, which was characterized by sequence analysis and molecular phylogenetic inference as a novel adenovirus of the genus Siadenovirus. The present report details the clinical and anatomic pathologic findings associated with systemic infection of Sulawesi tortoises by this novel Siadenovirus, which extends the known reptilian adenoviruses to the chelonians and extends the known genera of reptilian Adenoviridae beyond Atadenovirus to include the genus Siadenovirus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-426
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenovirus
  • Chelonian
  • Disease
  • In situ hybridization
  • Indotestudo forsteni
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • Siadenovirus
  • Sulawesi tortoises

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Systemic adenovirus infection in Sulawesi tortoises (Indotestudo forsteni) caused by a novel siadenovirus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this