Retrospective Review of Ophidiomycosis (Ophidiomyces Ophiodiicola) at the Smithsonian'S National Zoological Park (1983-2017)

Kailey B. Anderson, James C. Steeil, Donald L. Neiffer, Matt Evans, Alan Peters, Matthew C. Allender, Andrew N. Cartoceti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A retrospective review of systemic or localized mycotic infections in captive snakes confirmed via biopsy or necropsy from 1983 to 2017 was performed at the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) confirmed infection with Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola (Oo) in 36.8% (n = 14) of the 38 mycotic infections. Infections with Oo were evenly distributed over the 35-y period and lacked a sex predilection. There was a period prevalence of 4.5% of completed snake necropsy or biopsy cases that were Oo positive. Species affected included green anaconda (Eunectes murinus, n = 4), garden tree boa (Corallus hortulanus, n = 1), false water cobra (Hydrodynastes gigas, n = 5), yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus, n = 1), eastern milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum, n = 1), Brazilian rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchria cenchria, n = 1), and eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus, n = 1). Histopathology demonstrated one or more of the following: Heterophilic to necrotizing epidermitis with or without granulomatous dermatitis (n = 12), granulomatous pneumonia (n = 5), granulomatous endophthalmitis (n = 1), and subcutaneous-intramuscular fungal granuloma (n = 1). This study documents the presence of ophidiomycosis in a captive collection for almost 40 years, despite current literature designating it a recently emerging pathogen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)997-1002
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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