Case Report

Adenoviral hepatitis in two Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) hatchlings from South Africa

Silke Pfitzer, Keagan J. Boustead, Jan H. Vorster, Lizette du Plessis, Louis J. la Grange
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 90 | a1987 | DOI: | © 2019 Silke Pfitzer, Keagan J. Boustead, Jan H. Vorster, Lizette du Plessis, Louis J. la Grange | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 June 2019 | Published: 26 November 2019

About the author(s)

Silke Pfitzer, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, School of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University of Mpumalanga, Nelspruit, South Africa
Keagan J. Boustead, Valley Farm Animal Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa
Jan H. Vorster, Vetdiagnostix Veterinary Pathology Services, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Lizette du Plessis, Electron Microscope Unit, Department of Anatomy and Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa
Louis J. la Grange, Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs, Veterinary Services, Nelspruit, South Africa

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Adenoviral infections may cause mild to severe morbidity or fatality in a large array of animal species. In crocodilians, hatchlings under 5 months of age are usually affected. However, there is a paucity of information on actual incidences in hatchlings originating from South Africa. Two cases of adenoviral hepatitis in crocodile hatchlings about 2 weeks old, bred on a commercial farm in South Africa, are described. Both hatchlings showed typical clinical signs of hepatitis. The identification of intranuclear inclusion bodies in the liver was used to differentiate between adenoviral hepatitis and chlamydial hepatitis. Although vertical transmission has never been proven in crocodiles, the young age of the affected hatchlings raises the possibility of vertical transmission. The lack of epidemiological information on adenoviral hepatitis in crocodiles highlights the need for further characterisation of the virus and targeted surveillance.


adenovirus; hatchlings; Nile crocodile; Crocodylus niloticus; South Africa


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