Real-Time PCR Assessment of Biosecurity Methods for a Reptile Reovirus
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2009
Copper Aitken-Palmer, DVM, MS; James Wellehan, DVM, MS, DACZM, DACVM; April L. Childress; Li-Wen Chang
College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA


As has been seen with production of other animals, biosecurity issues arise when dealing with reptile populations. Emerging viral diseases pose significant concern within large breeding populations because of ease of transmission amongst more susceptible juvenile animals. Adequate surveillance and sanitation measures are key measures to prevention of disease outbreaks. Orthoreoviruses, a genus of noneveloped segmented double stranded RNA viruses, have been shown to cause significant morbidity and mortality in reptiles.1 A reovirus previously found in Greek tortoises (Testudo graeca)2 has emerged as a pathogen with high mortality rates in leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius). Real time PCR (qPCR) is a rapid and reliable method for detecting the presence and amount of a virus. A qPCR was developed for the detection and quantitation of this reovirus. Samples were run with qPCR and quantified against a known standard curve for virus quantification. This qPCR protocol was used to compare the potential of commonly used cleaning products (alcohols, hypocholorites, biguanides, and quaternary ammonium compounds) to inactivate this virus.

Literature Cited

1.  Lamirande EW, Nichols DK, Owens JW, Gaskin JM, Jacobson ER. Isolation and experimental transmission of a reovirus pathogenic in ratsnakes (Elaphe species). Virus Research. 1999;63:135–141.

2.  Wellehan JFX, Childress AL, Marschang RE, Johnson AJ, Roberts JE, Vickers ML, et al. Consensus nested PCR amplification and sequencing of diverse reoviruses of reptiles, birds, and mammals. Vet Microbiol. 2009;133:34–42.


Speaker Information
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Copper Aitken-Palmer, DVM, MS
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL, USA

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