A wild-caught Bowsprit tortoise (Chersina angulata) was received into quarantine and appeared clinically normal. Oral swabs for consensus herpesvirus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing were obtained during routine quarantine, and a novel herpesvirus was identified. Comparative sequence analysis shows that this virus is a member of the subfamily Alphaherpesvirinae in the proposed genus Chelonivirus. Host/virus co-evolution appears to be common amongst herpesviruses and their hosts, and the most significant disease is typically seen when herpesviruses jump to related host species. Previous studies have found some diversity of herpesviruses in tortoises. This report expands the number of known herpesviruses of tortoises. It is reasonable to expect that there will be significantly different clinical consequences of different tortoise herpesviruses in different species, and that identification of host/virus relationships will aid in clinical management of tortoise collections. Further work is needed to determine the clinical implications of this and other tortoise herpesviruses in different tortoise species.
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