Arenavirus Prevalence

I’m curious how many people test for arena and if so then how prevalent is it in your collection? I tested mine (11 in my collection + 1 new boa I received last week) and 25% came back positive for arena. I put them down and will be testing everything I buy in the future. It seems to be more common than people think, especially as many boas don’t show symptoms.

1 Like

You may found this interesting as far as prevalence of IBD in boas www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090023316301721

And this study that was done to see if RNA was associated with IBD in all cases https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279304160_Identification_of_snake_arenaviruses_in_live_boas_and_pythons_in_a_zoo_in_Germany

And again prevalence of IBD and RNA https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0229667

1 Like

@stewart_reptiles I’ve actually read those and find it interesting that my % positive cases was close to the 19% in the first study. I’m wondering how prevalent it is in larger collections since the 131 snakes tested were from 28 different collections, which averages only about 4 snakes per collection tested. Seems like a small sample.

I am going to repeat what I said in your nido thread. I believe the degree of unknowns about these viruses is being ignored in favour of focusing on the scare factor involved in the big collection losses that have happened.

Speaking as someone in a niche of the infectious disease field, the advent of cheap/easy testing has created a very problematic situation because we are starting to see prevalence with exactly zero concept of morbidity/mortality. There are a great many “bugs” that are endemic in populations/species that are largely benign unless something happens to compromise the carrier (poor husbandry, second infection, breeding stress, etc.) Think of Staph aureus, I can guarantee that at least 75% of the population are carrying that right now, but we do not all freak out thinking each and every one of those people is going to die from MRSA knowing that to be the case.

Or, perhaps a more timely comparison - SARS-CoV-2. Estimates right now are that for every active visible case there are probably 2-3 asymptomatic cases. With that being the case, now I want you to imagine if we took the hard-line decision you did with your collection and applied it to the human race right now and “put down” every person that simply tested positive for SARS-CoV-2…

Kind of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, yes?

Now, as I also said in the other thread, I am not denying that these diseases can be problematic and have serious consequences. But it is also possible for animals that test positive to live full and complete lives with zero issues.

8 Likes

Not necessarily. That is one of the black hole unknowns here that I was driving at. What if it is an endemic pseudo-commensal? What if the other snakes in your collection are a genus/species far enough removed on the evolutionary tree that they are not susceptible to the variant of nido in the positive animals? What if the other snakes in your collection have already had the disease and cleared it? What if the other snakes in your collection are also infected but it is latent and you never bother testing again because you are convinced you are now “clean”?
.
.

See above re: What if one of the other snakes in your collection has it at low/undetectable levels and that animal is the Typhoid Mary?
.
.

I have yet to see anyone destroy Pia and Cody Bartolini for retaining their nido-positive animals. They keep them in a totally segregated building away from the rest of their collection but they still have them and have even breed a couple of them.
.
.

I was not, and never wold, advocate the taking of a human life (and tangentially, given the numerous asinine comments so many people have publicly made about the need to re-open the country to save the economy being more important than a bunch of old/weak people dying from SARS-CoV-2, I think you give the “average person” entirely too much credit)

I was painting a broad picture. People are, generally speaking, ignorant of exactly how wide-spread SARS-CoV-2 is because of the high number of asymptomatic case. Likewise, we in the hobby have absolutely ZERO knowledge of what the asymptomatic case rate is for nido.
.
.

And yet we do not know this because no one has done any kind of transmission studies. We do not even know HOW nido is spread! People are just assuming
.
.

You cannot perform a meaningful risk assessment without knowledge of the actual risks. And just the few unanswered questions I have called specific attention to here more than demonstrate that we do not have the knowledge.
.
.

Call me a cynic but I doubt it will do anything other than possibly reveal the prevalence. But since the universal reaction to a positive test is, apparently, to go out and kill the animal I cannot see how we can hope to learn anything beyond how wide-spread it is. I also do not see large-scale breeders, performing literally thousands of tests on their collections so even the idea of getting an accurate scope of prevalence is probably unrealistic.

I stand by my statement that the easy availability of these tests is potentially more of a problem than the diseases themselves.

6 Likes

:grinning:nice Write up Travis way to work in bath time!

1 Like

These sorts of issues are hugely contentious in the veterinary world. The major ones small animal vets want to throw down over (that come to mind) are heartworm testing, FeLV/FIV testing, and giardia. And definitely don’t get me started on the face mask/covid issue- I’m immune compromised and in really bad health, so I’m fairly likely to die as a result of people not wearing masks.

And @terces , though the average person most definitely doesn’t value the life of a reptile as much as those of their conspecifics, there are those of us that do. :relieved:

2 Likes