Technical Disease Card

Herpesvirus causing fibropapillomatosis in sea turtles (Infection with)

Fibropapillomatosis (FP) of sea turtles, while demonstrably transmissible, has a somewhat unclear aetiology. It is believed these fibropapillomas are caused by a potentially oncogenic alphaherpesvirus, chelonid herpesvirus 5 (ChHV5). Viral DNA is consistently found in fibropapillomas, but occasionally in normal tissues as well. Because Koch’s Postulates have not been adequately fulfilled, ChHV5 has not definitively been proven to cause FP. However, due to a strong association between the two, it is putatively considered the aetiologic agent.