Abstract

A pedunculated cauliflower-like mass was detected on the left posterior limb of a subadult male red deer (Cervus elaphus) after a hunt in Portugal. Histologically the lesion was classified as cutaneous fibropapilloma. The identification of Cervus elaphus papillomavirus (CePV-1 variant) was based on sequencing of the L1 gene. The L2 sequence revealed a nine-nucleotide deletion, as already reported in the Italian and Hungarian CePV-1, further supporting the theory that this is a distinctive genomic characteristic of this viral variant, as this feature has been found in distinct cases from geographically distant countries. In addition, a coinfection with bovine papillomavirus was evidenced by amplification and sequencing of the E5 gene, confirming the ability of Delta papillomaviruses to cross-infect different animal species and providing more evidence that wildlife may act as reservoir for papillomaviruses affecting domestic species. Papillomavirus infection in red deer has been sporadically described in different European countries; in this work, we describe the identification of a CePV-1 variant infection associated with a red deer fibropapilloma in Portugal.

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