Frog virus 3 (FV3) and FV3-like viruses are members of the genus Ranavirus (family Iridoviridae) and are becoming recognized as significant pathogens of eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) in North America. In July 2011, 5 turtles from a group of 27 in Maryland, USA, presented dead or lethargic with what was later diagnosed as fibrinonecrotic stomatitis and cloacitis. The presence of FV3-like virus and herpesvirus was detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the tested index cases. The remaining 22 animals were isolated, segregated by severity of clinical signs, and treated with nutritional support, fluid therapy, ambient temperature management, antibiotics, and antiviral therapy. Oral swabs were tested serially for FV3-like virus by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and tested at day 0 for herpesvirus and Mycoplasma sp. by conventional PCR. With oral swabs, 77% of the 22 turtles were FV3-like virus positive; however, qPCR on tissues taken during necropsy revealed the true prevalence was 86%. FV3-like virus prevalence and the median number of viral copies being shed significantly declined during the outbreak. The prevalence of herpesvirus and Mycoplasma sp. by PCR of oral swabs at day 0 was 55% and 68%, respectively. The 58% survival rate was higher than previously reported in captive eastern box turtles for a ranavirus epizootic. All surviving turtles brumated normally and emerged the following year with no clinical signs during subsequent monitoring. The immediate initiation of treatment and intensive supportive care were considered the most important contributing factors to the successful outcome in this outbreak.
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