Mycoplasma agassizii causes upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) in Texas tortoises (Gopherus berlandieri). To determine exposure to and shedding of M. agassizii, we collected blood samples and nasal swabs from 40 free-ranging Texas tortoises on public and private lands in Texas, USA, from May to October 2009. We used an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect M. agassizii–specific antibodies. Eleven (28%) tortoises were antibody positive, three (8%) were suspect, and the remaining 26 (65%) were negative. Nasal lavage samples were collected from 35 of the 40 tortoises for M. agassizii culture and PCR to detect shedding of M. agassizii. Current infection with M. agassizii was confirmed in one tortoise that had mild clinical signs of URTD and was positive by ELISA (antibody titer >512), PCR, and culture. The clinical isolate was confirmed as M. agassizii by restriction fragment length polymorphism and immunobinding.
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Vol. 49 • No. 3