Navigation Links
UF researchers develop blood test for devastating disease of boas and pythons
Date:1/29/2014

GAINESVILLE, Fla. University of Florida researchers have developed a simple immune-based screening test to identify the presence of a debilitating and usually fatal disease that strikes boas and pythons in captivity as well as those sold to the pet trade worldwide.

Known as inclusion body disease, or IBD, the highly infectious disease most commonly affects boa constrictors but pythons and other snake species in the boid family are also occasionally infected with the virus that causes the disease. IBD was first seen in snakes in the late 1970s, said Elliott Jacobson, D.V.M., Ph.D., a professor emeritus of zoological medicine at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine and co-author of a study that appeared in December in PLOS ONE.

"We don't know the prevalence, but we see more of IBD in the United States because there are some 2 million boas being kept as pets in this country," Jacobson said. "This simple blood test will help determine whether or not an animal has this disease and potentially will help clean up colonies of snakes that will ultimately be disease-free."

Although snakes infected with IBD may display neurological signs, such as head-tilting, chronic regurgitation or disequilibrium, there is also a population of snakes that are subclinical, meaning they are infected but otherwise appear healthy.

"That's a big problem, because healthy-seeming animals that are affected with IBD are being sold and sent around the world," he said. "However, they may develop the disease sometime later and may be the source of infection for other snakes."

On Jacobson's research team at the UF veterinary college were his former graduate student, Li-Wen Chang, B.V.M., Ph.D., the principal investigator in the study, and Jorge Hernandez, D.V.M., Ph.D., a veterinary epidemiologist.

To develop the test, the researchers studied a monoclonal antibody produced in response to a unique protein that accumulates in cells of snakes having IBD. They then sequenced the protein in an effort to further understand the nature and cause of the disease. Although the cause of IBD is unclear, the UF team found genetic links of this unique protein are associated with a family of viruses that primarily infect rodents but may infect humans. However, there is no evidence to indicate that the virus that causes IBD can infect people.

When Chang joined the study in 2008, she realized the limited availability of snake databases and potential causative agents of the disease presented additional challenges.

"It took us almost a year to finally produce this antibody, and three more years to validate its performance for immuno-based diagnostic tests," Chang said.

University of California-San Francisco researchers identified the Golden Gate virus in 2012 and scientists now consider it to be a potential cause of IBD.

UF's findings supplement that theory, although more studies of disease transmission need to be conducted to confirm the role of Golden Gate virus in the development of IBD, Jacobson said.

The research was performed at the UF's Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research through the university's veterinary diagnostic laboratories, where the new test is now offered. It will supplement existing molecular and histological tests, which are more widely available but also more expensive, Jacobson added. In addition, the test's ease of use and simplicity will offer veterinary practitioners a good first-line diagnostic tool to screen for IBD in snake species that show signs of the disease, or even before these signs occur.

"We know now that this disease exists in multiple collections and populations," Jacobson said. "It is important to determine why some snakes are not showing clinical signs of the disease. Could there be another agent operating synergistically? Perhaps one virus needs to be present but another virus needs to be present also, or perhaps the subclinical cases only have one of those agents, not both."

Only strict quarantine of new arrivals to snake populations and the culling of infected snakes, as well as mite control, can mitigate the spread of the disease, according to a 2013 fact sheet prepared by the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians' infectious disease committee.

"It's a situation of management," Jacobson said. "You'll never completely eradicate this disease."


'/>"/>

Contact: Sarah Carey
careysk@ufl.edu
352-294-4242
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Study by UC Santa Barbara researchers suggests that bacteria communicate by touch
2. UC Santa Barbara researchers discover genetic link between visual pathways of hydras and humans
3. Researchers attempt to solve problems of antibiotic resistance and bee deaths in one
4. UNH researchers find African farmers need better climate change data to improve farming practices
5. Ottawa researchers to lead world-first clinical trial of stem cell therapy for septic shock
6. Researchers uncover molecular pathway through which common yeast becomes fungal pathogen
7. Researchers print live cells with a standard inkjet printer
8. Columbia Engineering and Penn researchers increase speed of single-molecule measurements
9. Researchers reveal how a single gene mutation leads to uncontrolled obesity
10. Researchers discover novel therapy for Crohns disease
11. New paper by Notre Dame researchers describes method for cleaning up nuclear waste
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
UF researchers develop blood test for devastating disease of boas and pythons
(Date:3/20/2017)... At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela ... The Chancellor came to the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime ... partner country. At the largest German biometrics company the two government leaders ... iris recognition as well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   ... ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... , Australia , March 9, ... study data at the prestigious World Lung Imaging Workshop ... Andreas Fouras , was invited to deliver the ... pulmonary medicine. This globally recognised event brings together leaders ... share the latest developments in lung imaging. ...
(Date:3/6/2017)... , March 6, 2017 Mintigo ... technology, today announced Predictive Sales Coach TM , ... actionable sales intelligence into Salesforce. This unique AI ... their sales organizations with deep knowledge of their ... for intelligent engagement. Predictive Sales Coach extends Mintigo,s ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... Bactana Animal Health, a company developing natural ... supply through enhancement of the gut microbiota, today announced the closing of its first ... New York-based Sustainable Income Capital Management, LLC and a number of private investors. The ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... TORONTO , March 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -  GeneNews Limited ... of BreastSentry™ , a new risk stratification test for ... reference lab, Innovative Diagnostics Laboratory ("IDL"). BreastSentry incorporates a blood-based ... five-year and lifetime risk for developing breast cancer.   ... BreastSentry measures ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... Kong (PRWEB) , ... March 28, 2017 , ... ... selected NetDimensions Learning to replace paper-based processes and enhance training plan management for ... are very pleased to partner with the SHL Group to help improve and ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... ... March 28, 2017 , ... Ecovia Renewables, Inc. ... Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Under the award ... a suite of BioGel™ biopolymer materials for hygiene applications, particularly for use in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: