Fibropapillomatosis in Green Sea Turtles in Kenya: : Prevalence of Chelonid Herpesvirus 5 in Tumor and Non-Tumor tissue
Abstract: Introduction: In 2012, approximately 15 % of human cancer cases were attributable to infectious agents worldwide. Fibropapillomatosis is a marine turtle disease characterized by growth of tumors on the shell, skin, eyes, oral cavity and/or viscera of the animals. Chelonid alpha herpes virus 5 (ChHV5) is believed to be the most likely etiological cause of this disease, having been identified in 86.3% of fibropapillomatosis tumor samples, but also Chelonia mydas papillomavirus 1 (CmPV1) has been considered as a causative agent. Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of Chelonid alpha herpes virus 5 and Chelonia mydas papillomavirus 1 in both healthy turtles and turtles with fibropapillomatosis. Methods: Detection of Chelonid alpha herpes virus 5 and Chelonia mydas papillomavirus 1 via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was conducted on 36 samples (30 healthy tissue and six fibropapillomatosis tissue). Primer sequences for Chelonid alpha herpes virus 5 were used from previous studies and new primers were designed for Chelonia mydas papillomavirus 1. Results: Five out of the six (83.3%) tumor tissue, but none of the 30 healthy tissues tested positive for Chelonid alpha herpes virus 5. Large scale polymerase chain reaction could not be conducted for Chelonia mydas papillomavirus 1. Conclusions: This study, showing high prevalence of Chelonid alpha herpes virus 5 supports previous reports on the strong association between this virus infection and fibropapillomatosis development in green turtles. However, no results could be attained regarding the prevalence of Chelonia mydas papillomavirus 1.
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