April can probably speak to this best as her article in Journal of Wildlife Diseases is a good summary. I can add that at least 3 locations in Maryland including the site mentioned in the post article have been reported since that time (just for wild turtles). My feeling is that the only reason these sites are known is because we have a lot of people working with box turtles in this area and it likely goes largely undetected because there is such a narrow time frame in which the sick or dead turtle can be found in a condition that allows for testing coupled with the low detection probability of the animal itself.
Thank you, April.
I have been wondering how often ranavirus has been found in wild populations. From what I can tell from the literature, most if not all documented occurrences have been in captivity. But then I hear anecdotal reports of ranavirus in turtles here and there. I remember hearing about ranavirus being found in Blandings turtles in New York State a few years back, but so far as I can tell this has never been published.
So a question for those in the know, How common are ranavirus outbreaks in wild turtles? Is it simply under-reported?
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On Feb 15, 2012, at 8:00 AM, Johnson, April J wrote:
<belzer Seibert 2011 ranavirus pdf (2).pdf> We found Iridovirus-like particles on EM from tissues in a box turtle die off involving 30 turtles dating back to 1991 in Georgia. It is likely not a new problem, although it is possible it is increasing in frequency or at least in detection. In 2003, there was a die-off in a repatriated box turtle population in Pennsylvania that was being closely tracked by Bill Belzer. He wrote up a paper for the Jan 2011 issue of the Turtle and Tortoise newsletter on his own personal observations and speculations that may not be easily accessible (not peer-reviewed). I’ve attached it in case it may be of interest to anyone. April Johnson, DVM, MPH, PhD Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health Purdue University, College of Veterinary Medicine