Detection of Testudinid alphaherpesvirus, Chlamydia spp., Mycoplasma spp., and Salmonella spp. in free‑ranging and rescued Italian Testudo hermanni hermanni


Mycoplasma agassizii
Testudinid alphaherpesvirus
Testudo hermanni

How to Cite

Marenzoni, M. L., Stefanetti, V., Del Rossi, E., Zicavo, A., Scuota, S., Origgi, F. C., Deli, G., Corti, C., Trabalza Marinucci, M., & Olivieri, O. (2022). Detection of Testudinid alphaherpesvirus, Chlamydia spp., Mycoplasma spp., and Salmonella spp. in free‑ranging and rescued Italian Testudo hermanni hermanni. Veterinaria Italiana, 58(1), 25–34. https://doi.org/10.12834/VetIt.1915.13833.1


Testudo hermanni is included as near‑threatened in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, while T. hermanni hermanni is considered endangered in the Italian Red List. Appropriate management of smuggled or seized wild individuals is recommended before their reintroduction into the wild. Accordingly, a health monitoring study was carried out. During 2014‑2016, 133 oral swabs and 121 cloacal swabs were collected from a total of approximately 180 free‑ranging and rescued T. hermanni hermanni from eight different Italian regions to investigate the presence of DNA of Testudinid alphaherpesvirus (TeAHV), Chlamydia spp. and Mycoplasma spp. in the oral cavity, and Salmonella spp. isolates in the cloaca. Mycoplasma spp. was detected in 52 out of 87 (59.77%) of rescued and in 1 out of 46 free‑ranging (2.17%) individuals; 33 out of 53 (62.26%) Mycoplasma spp. positive samples were typed as M. agassizii by PCR. Salmonella spp. was isolated from 45 out of 121 (37.19%) cloacal swabs, typed into 14 serovars, and characterized for complete antimicrobial susceptibility. A significantly different distribution of Salmonella spp. isolates was found in 2016 in comparison with 2014 and 2015, without any difference between free‑ranging and rescued tortoises. All the tested tortoises were negative for TeAHV and Chlamydia spp. These results are considered a baseline information critical to monitor the dynamics of these microorganisms in free‑ranging and rescued populations of T. h. hermanni, and to correctly approach the management of rescued animals and possible relocation programs.


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