Pulmonary Lesions in Experimental Ophidian Paramyxovirus Pneumonia of Aruba Island Rattlesnakes, Crotalus unicolor

E. R. Jacobson, H. P. Adams, T. W. Geisbert, S. J. Tucker, B. J. Hall, B. L. Homer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Histologic and ultrastructural changes were observed in the respiratory portions of lung in five 29-40-month-old Aruba Island rattlesnakes, Crotalus unicolor, that were inoculated with an Aruba Island Rattlesnake virus (AIV) strain of ophidian paramyxovirus (OPMV) isolated from an Aruba Island rattlesnake. Lungs from one non-infected and three mock-infected Aruba Island rattlesnakes were examined also. From 4 to 22 days following intratracheal inoculation, progressive microscopic changes were seen in the lung. Initially, increased numbers of heterophils were observed in the interstitium followed by proliferation and vacuolation of epithelial cells lining faveoli. The changes appeared to progress from cranial to caudal portions of the respiratory lung following inoculation. Beginning at 4 days postinoculation, viral antigen was demonstrated in epithelial cells lining faveoli with an immunofluorescent technique using a rabbit anti-AIV polyclonal antibody. Electron microscopy revealed loss of type I cells, hyperplasia of type II cells, and interstitial infiltrates of heterophils and mononuclear cells. Viral nucleocapsid material was seen within the cytoplasm and mature virus was seen budding from cytoplasmic membranes of infected type I and type II cells from 8 to 19 days after infection. A virus consistent with AIV was isolated from lung tissues of infected rattlesnakes, thus fulfilling Koch's postulates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-459
Number of pages10
JournalVeterinary Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Electron microscopy
  • Light microscopy
  • Lung
  • Paramyxovirus
  • Pneumonia
  • Rattlesnakes
  • Transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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