Papillomas and probable in situ carcinoma in association with a novel papillomavirus in a red-billed gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae scopulinus)


Numerous raised plaques were observed on the feet of a red-billed gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae scopulinus) that had been found dead. The plaques consisted of thickened epidermis with cell changes indicative of papillomavirus (PV) infection prominent within affected areas. Evidence suggesting progression to neoplasia was visible in one lesion. A DNA sequence that was most similar, but only 68.3% identical, to duck PV type 3 was amplified from the papillomas, suggesting a novel PV type. Lesions containing PV DNA have only previously been reported in three avian species. This is the first evidence that PVs could cause neoplasia in birds.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the roles of Michele MacKenzie of Snells Beach, John O’Connell, Ministry for Primary Industries Surveillance and Incursion Investigation, Wallaceville, and the Vet Farm & Pet Clinic Warkworth in submitting the gull.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Correspondence to John S. Munday.

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Munday, J.S., Hardcastle, M.R., Hunter, S. et al. Papillomas and probable in situ carcinoma in association with a novel papillomavirus in a red-billed gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae scopulinus). Arch Virol 166, 1157–1161 (2021).

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