As a resource for the International Conference of Ranaviruses to be held in the summer of 2013, the planning group has created a website:   All up to date information will be posted on this site.  To all those on relevant planning committees for this conference, please contact me to post relevant information to post.


I do not have many photos and happy to give credit to those that are willing to help me out to spruce the site up. 


You will notice that I am also hoping it can serve as a resource for general information of ranaviruses as well as any updates on news items or recent published articles.  I am the contact person for this website that is still under development.  I am happy to host and maintain the site, I gladly appreciate any and all input or ideas that you might have.

Jake Kerby, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

University of South Dakota
Biology Department
414 E. Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069
Office: (605) 677-6170


From: Global Ranavirus Consortium [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Matt Allender
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 11:22 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: with respect to ranaviruses in wild populations of reptiles - what about snakes?


Dear Dana,


This is a great discussion on a topic that I spend so much time.  The review that Matt sent out is great and I have also inserted a table below that outlines the occurrences as well.  As you can see, it is mainly reported in box turtles.

Box turtles seem to especially sensitive, and I am working compiling the data for a 600 box turtle survey throughout the southeast US that has identified positive free-ranging turtles from several locations.  We have found it in healthy free-ranging and farm-raised terrapins (Trachemys scripta elegans).  This begs the question of the extent of this disease and requires active surveillance and accurate diagnostic assays.  If aquatic turtles can be subclinical carriers of the disease and they are invasive can they spread to new habitats?  I think that this is very possible and an area where researchers should investigate.  I am finishing my PhD dissertation ("Epidemiology of ranavirus in chelonians") and hope to have several other things in chelonians to share with the group this summer on assays, immune response to challenge studies, effect of temperature, and therapeutic approaches.  I am always happy to share and think about more things to do to "save the world one box turtle a time"- a reason I like this listserv.  

I did want to add on to the discussion that Jesse started on free-ranging vs captive.  I believe this is more of a wildlife disease in chelonians, but due to the local epizootics that define this disease in susceptible species, it spills over into captive collections that are monitored more closely (including sites that I am involved with which are close to the report in the article).  As April said (and she and I have brainstormed), this disease can be so rapid in chelonians that they are lost prior to discovery.  Furthermore, aquatic turtles never make it into hoop nets if they are sick and just scavenged after they die.  


Keep up the good work everyone!






Gopher tortoise

Florida Box turtle

Westhouse et al.

Johnson et al.

North Carolina

Eastern box turtle

DeVoe et al., Allender et al.


Eastern box turtle

Allender et al.


Eastern box turtle

Snapping turtle

Johnson et al.



Eastern box turtle


USGS, Mao?


Rhode Island

Painted turtle



Eastern box turtle

Ruder et al.


Burmese Star tortoise

Johnson et al.

New York

Eastern Box turtle

Johnson et al.


Eastern box turtle

Johnson et al.


Eastern box turtle



Eastern box turtle

Johnson pers. comm.


Eastern box turtle

Johnson pers. comm.



Matt Allender, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACZM
Department of Comparative Biosciences
University of Illinois
[log in to unmask]
Office: 217-265-0320
Fax: 217-244-1652

From: דנה מילשטיין dana milstein <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 9:06 AM
Subject: Re: with respect to ranaviruses in wild populations of reptiles - what about snakes?


Dear Matt

Thanks for the update.

Here the RV survey was initiated by collecting samples of Salamander that have been run over by cars and collection of tadpole samples from different ponds. 

 I have been following the correspondence regarding the RV in box turtles. I was wandering if you or the group have any information regarding RV in aquatic turtles, especially Trachemys scripta eleganas. These species is invasive in Israel and although I have no reports of massive death events, I was wondering about its possible role as an additional distribution agent for RV in amphibians.   




From: Global Ranavirus Consortium [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Gray, Matthew James
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 1:48 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: with respect to ranaviruses in wild populations of reptiles - what about snakes?




Tom Waltzek, Deb and I are conducting a series of interclass transmission studies exploring the possibility of FV3-like ranaviruses isolated from fish, reptiles and amphibians transmitting among these classes via controlled experimental challenges.  Preliminary results suggest this is possible.  We also have demonstrated in the lab that infected wood frog tadpoles that are scavenged by turtles results in transmission.  These data are new and should be published in 2012.  We plan to expand this work to aquatic mesocosms in a few months.  Experiments with snakes are in the works. 


All the Best--- Matt


From: Global Ranavirus Consortium [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Danna Schock
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 1:49 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: with respect to ranaviruses in wild populations of reptiles - what about snakes? RE: Washington Post Article


Does anyone have a sense of search effort / detection in wild snakes? Several species of snakes rely on amphibians as a diet staple = transmission possibilities. Thoughts?



From: Global Ranavirus Consortium [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Scott Farnsworth
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 10:22 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Washington Post Article


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.  

Scott Farnsworth

On Feb 15, 2012, at 11:45 AM, Jesse Brunner <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

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? 









Jesse Brunner
School of Biological Sciences
Washington State University

283 Eastlick Hall / PO Box 644236

Pullman, WA 99164 USA
[log in to unmask]


On Feb 15, 2012, at 8:00 AM, Johnson, April J wrote:


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

Phone: (765) 494-0562




<belzer  Seibert 2011 ranavirus pdf (2).pdf>