‘Mad snake disease’ may 
be caused by rodent virus

Discussion in 'Reptile News' started by -Peter, Aug 14, 2012.

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  1. -Peter

    -Peter Guest

    ‘Mad snake disease’ may 
be caused by rodent virus - Environment - Scotsman.com

    Published on Tuesday 14 August 2012 01:09
    A MYSTERIOUS “mad snake disease” that causes pythons to tie themselves up in knots may be caused by a rodent virus, scientists believe.
    The fatal condition, called inclusion body disease (IBD), strikes captive pythons and boa constrictors. Snakes with the disease start to display strange behavioural traits, such as “stargazing” – staring upwards for long periods of time.
    Other symptoms include appearing drunk and getting into a tangle. “They tie themselves in a knot and they can’t get out of it,” said US expert Professor Michael Buchmeier, from the University of California at Irvine.
    IBD gets its name from inclusions, or pockets of foreign material, found in the cells of affected animals. Although the disease is known to be highly infectious, its cause has been a mystery. Such viruses usually infect mice and rats, but can cause haemorrhagic fever in humans.
    A team led by Prof Buchmeier investigated an outbreak of IBD among snakes at the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco.
    Tests showed it belonged to a family of arenaviruses – a type of virus that normally infects rodents – never seen before.
    “This is one of the most exciting things that has happened to us in virology in a very long time,” said Prof Buchmeier. “The fact that we have apparently identified a whole new lineage of arenaviruses is very exciting.”
    The research is published in mBio, the online journal of 
the American Society for Microbiology.
     
  2. Wow, that's really interesting Peter. I was told by Tim Hyndman in Perth recently that there was a whole lot of really exciting stuff happening with regard to these viral things - hopefully as work progresses we may get some answers to these questions...

    Jamie
     
  3. shaneb

    shaneb Not so new Member

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    Fascinating stuff indeed.
     
  4. Jungle_Freak

    Jungle_Freak Very Well-Known Member

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    Well I have always thought it was possible for rodents carrying Leptospirosis to infect or transfer this virus to pythons by ingesting them.
    Leptospirosis - Queensland Health

    Same as the cases of symptoms consistant with OPMV ? that now looks like Sunshine virus would be the true suspect etc .

    Just my opinion..
     
  5. JasonL

    JasonL Almost Legendary

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    Seems plausible to me...
     
  6. peterjohnson64

    peterjohnson64 Very Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting - now we just need to understand whether freezing rodents will kill the viruses.
     
  7. JasonL

    JasonL Almost Legendary

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    I would think so, but if not theres always chicken necks lol
     
  8. jahan

    jahan Active Member

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    Pathogenic leptospires reproduce best at body temperature, but can survive over a wide range. They appear to be unable to tolerate temperatures over about 42°C, which can explain why bacterial growth is reduced or reversed in patients with very high fevers, with no reports of survivial when heated to over 55°C. Cold is easier to tolerate, and they can be frozen (in ice or liquid nitrogen) and subsequently revived. Leptospires have been isolated from kidneys that have been deep-frozen as part of the food distribution chain. Their levels of activity and ability to reproduce drops when cooled below 10°C.
    Found this in a search
    So freezing doesn`t kill it.
     
  9. Jungle_Freak

    Jungle_Freak Very Well-Known Member

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    Some more reading on Lepto .
    Leptospirosis Factsheet - NSW Department of Health

    In humans ,there is about 200 cases per year in Australia.
    And we dont eat rodents ?
    Humans mainly catch lepto from coming into contact with rodent urine or droppings in work places on the land or farming etc .

    Also it would be interesting to find out if collections affected by suspected cases of IBD were feeding fresh killed rodents or thawed ?
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
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