Detection of a novel herpesvirus associated with squamous cell carcinoma in a free-ranging Blanding’s turtle

Kirsten E. Andersson, Laura Adamovicz, Lauren E. Mumm, John M. Winter, Gary Glowacki, Rachel Teixeira-Neto, Michael J. Adkesson, Eric T. Hostnik, Ellen Haynes, Matthew C. Allender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The spread of both infectious and noninfectious diseases through wildlife populations is of increasing concern. Neoplastic diseases are rarely associated with population-level impacts in wildlife; however, impacts on individual health can be severe and might reflect deteriorating environmental conditions. An adult male free-ranging Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) originally captured in 2005 and deemed healthy, was recaptured in 2018 with a 1 × 1.5 cm intra-oral broad-based right mandibular mass. An excisional biopsy was performed, and histopathology revealed squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Consensus herpesvirus PCR identified a novel herpesvirus (proposed name Emydoidea herpesvirus 2 [EBHV-2]) within the tumor. EBHV-2 shares 85% sequence homology with Terrapene herpesvirus 2 (TerHV-2), a herpesvirus linked to fibropapillomas in eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina). Virus-associated fibropapillomas have been identified in multiple marine turtle species and have had debilitating effects on their populations, but to date, virus-associated SCCs are rarely reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-351
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Blanding’s turtle
  • chelonian
  • herpesvirus
  • neoplasia
  • squamous cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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