Seven captive eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) from a large collection of North American chelonians in North Carolina became acutely ill in the fall of 2002. Five of the turtles died. Clinical signs included cutaneous abscessation, oral ulceration or abscessation (or both), respiratory distress, anorexia, and lethargy. The predominant postmortem lesion was fibrinoid vasculitis of various organs, including skin, mucous membranes, lungs, and liver. No inclusion bodies were detected by histopathology or electron microscopy of formalin-fixed tissue. An iridovirus was isolated from tissues obtained postmortem from two of the box turtles that died. The virus was characterized by electron microscopy, polymerase chain reaction, and sequence analysis of a portion of the major capsid protein as a member of the genus Ranavirus.
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Vol. 35 • No. 4