Gram-negative bacterial infections and cardiovascular parasitism in green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas)

Aust Vet J. 1998 Jun;76(6):415-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-0813.1998.tb12392.x.


Objective: To investigate causes of ill health and mortality in juvenile wild green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) found along the mid-north west coast of Western Australia between June and October of 1997.

Procedure: Department of Conservation and Land Management rangers submitted four dead or dying green sea turtles from separate incidents for veterinary examination, necropsy, and bacteriological, parasitological and histopathological examination.

Results: Numerous different species of trematodes belonging to the families Pronocephalidae, Microscaphidiidae and Paramphistomidae were detected in the intestines of two turtles examined, and in all turtles there was severe spirorchid fluke infection including Haemoxenicon sp, Amphiorchis sp and Hapalotrema sp. Histopathological examination demonstrated severe multifocal to diffuse granulomatous vasculitis, aggregations of spirorchid fluke eggs and microabscesses throughout various tissues including intestines, kidney, liver, lung and brain. Cultures and or histopathological examination demonstrated disseminated Gram-negative bacterial infections including salmonella, E coli, Citrobacter freundii and Moraxella sp.

Conclusion: Infections caused by salmonellae, E coli and other Gram-negative bacteria should be considered as causes of systemic illness and death in wild green sea turtles infected with spirorchid cardiovascular flukes and other internal parasites.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / microbiology
  • Brain / parasitology
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cardiovascular System / parasitology
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / epidemiology
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / pathology
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / veterinary*
  • Meninges / microbiology
  • Meninges / parasitology
  • Meninges / pathology
  • Seawater
  • Trematode Infections / epidemiology
  • Trematode Infections / pathology
  • Trematode Infections / veterinary*
  • Turtles* / parasitology
  • Western Australia / epidemiology