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Pet reptiles are reported to be increasing in numbers with over 8 million captive in the UK alone (Federation of British Herpetologists data), with bearded dragons one of the most popular lizard species kept with numbers estimated to be in excess of 1 million. Agamid Adenovirus-1 (AAdV-1) infection was first reported in Australia in the early 1980s, and subsequently in the USA in the 1990s (Mitchell 2007). It spread through US populations and is now considered endemic (Mitchell 2007, Reavill and Griffin 2011). AAdV-1 is believed to be responsible for neurological symptoms, immunosuppression, reduced growth and death in infected bearded dragons, but many infected dragons may remain asymptomatic carriers, infecting offspring and in-contacts. As with many reptile viral infections, true pathogenicity is unclear with environmental factors and coinfections suspected to play a significant role in individual response (Marschang 2011).
As development of new colour patterns and scalation aberrations has become a target for large-scale breeders, new genetic …