Seroprevalence and significance of paramyxovirus titres in a zoological collection of lizards

Testing of lizards at London Zoo to determine exposure to paramyxovirus

source: C. Lloyd, R. Manwell, S. Drury, and A.W. Sainsbury
Veterinary Record vol 156 no 18, April 13 2005
starts p578, 3 pages long

Lizards as well as snakes can be infected with paramyxovirus (PMV). The infection was first detected in reptiles in London Zoo in 1999, when a rattlesnake with neurological problems tested positive. This project tested 59 lizards from 20 species from the crocodilia and squamata orders for PMV, through HI tests. 58 of the animals were clinically normal. Seven of the 59 animals tested positive. The positive animals were from three species, the rhinocerous iguana, blotched, blue-tobgued skink, and prehensile-tailed skink. The rhinocerous iguanas showed the highest titres. There appear to be different 'species' of reptile PMV, which makes testing difficult. Most of the lizards testing positive were clinically healthy. Many snakes previously testing positive, prior to this project, have stayed healthy. The route of infection affects whether PMV is virulent in birds, though the factors affecting virulence in reptiles are unclear.