Anaconda paramyxovirus infection in an adult green anaconda after prolonged incubation: Pathological characterization and whole genome sequence analysis

Infect Genet Evol. 2017 Jul;51:239-244. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2017.04.008. Epub 2017 Apr 9.


From July 2011 to June 2012, 31 out of 33 green anaconda juveniles from an oceanarium in Hong Kong died over a 12-month period. These anacondas were progeny of a female anaconda purchased from Japan and added to the collection in May 2011. The juvenile anacondas were born in July 2011. A novel paramyxovirus, named anaconda paramyxovirus (AnaPV), was isolated from these affected juvenile anacondas. In July 2015, one of the remaining two anacondas, that survived the cluster of fatal infections, died at the age of four. Pathologically, both the death of the four-year-old anaconda and the previous deaths of the anaconda juveniles involved multiple, similar organs. However, the organ that was primarily affected in the juvenile anacondas that died in 2011 was the kidney, whereas the most remarkable lesions in the four-year-old anaconda involved the lungs. Granulomas previously observed in the juvenile anacondas with AnaPV infections were not obvious in the four-year-old anaconda. RT-PCR for the L gene of AnaPV was positive for the lungs, kidneys, ovary, spleen, liver, tracheal content and gall bladder of the four-year-old anaconda, with a median viral load of 1.32×106AnaPVRNAcopies/mg. Complete genome sequencing revealed that there were only 12-14 nucleotide changes in the AnaPV genome of the four-year old anaconda compared to those of the AnaPV found in anaconda juveniles in 2011/2012. Among these nucleotide changes, only four were non-synonymous mutations, with one in the N gene, one in the M gene and two in the HN gene. Both epidemiological and molecular data supported that the four-year-old green anaconda probably acquired the AnaPV from its mother or its siblings that died 3-4years ago, and its death is a result of an unprecedented extended incubation period or latency of AnaPV followed by a subsequent manifestation of clinical disease and death.

Keywords: Fatal infection; Genome; Paramyxovirus; Snake.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Boidae
  • Cell Line
  • Cricetinae
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Genes, Viral*
  • Genome, Viral*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney / virology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver / virology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / virology
  • Paramyxoviridae / genetics*
  • Paramyxoviridae / pathogenicity
  • Paramyxoviridae Infections / pathology
  • Paramyxoviridae Infections / virology*
  • Spleen / pathology
  • Spleen / virology
  • Viral Load
  • Virus Latency*