DAO 118:169-174 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02957

NOTE
Meningoencephalitis and Listeria monocytogenes, Toxoplasma gondii and Brucella spp. coinfection in a dolphin in Italy

Carla Grattarola1, Federica Giorda1, Barbara Iulini1, Maria Domenica Pintore1, Alessandra Pautasso1, Simona Zoppi1, Maria Goria1, Angelo Romano1, Simone Peletto1, Katia Varello1, Fulvio Garibaldi2, Giuliano Garofolo3, Cristina Esmeralda Di Francesco4, Letizia Marsili5, Elena Bozzetta1, Giovanni Di Guardo4, Alessandro Dondo1, Walter Mignone6, Cristina Casalone1,*

1Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d’Aosta, Via Bologna 148, 10154 Turin, Italy
2University of Genova, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell’ Ambiente e della Vita, Corso Europa 26, 16132 Genova, Italy
3National and OIE Reference Laboratory for Brucellosis, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise, Campo Boario, 64100 Teramo, Italy
4University of Teramo, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Località Piano D’Accio, 64100 Teramo, Italy
5University of Siena, Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’Ambiente, Via Mattioli 4, 53100 Siena, Italy
6Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d’Aosta, Via Nizza 4, 18100 Imperia, Italy
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Listeria monocytogenes, Toxoplasma gondii and Brucella spp. can infect a wide range of species, including humans. In cetaceans, meningoencephalitis has been associated with T. gondii and Brucella spp. infection, whereas to our knowledge, L. monocytogenes infection has not previously been reported. Meningoencephalitis and L. monocytogenes, T. gondii and Brucella spp. were identified by means of both direct and indirect laboratory techniques in an adult female striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba found stranded in January 2015 on the Ligurian Sea coast, northwestern Italy. The animal was emaciated, and histopathology disclosed severe meningoencephalitis. The nature of the inflammatory response and intra-lesional protozoa were consistent with a mixed infection by L. monocytogenes, T. gondii and Brucella spp. We believe this is an unprecedented case of infection by 3 zoonotic pathogens and also the first bacteriologically confirmed case report of neurolisteriosis in cetaceans. Cerebral toxoplasmosis and neurobrucellosis may have led to the animal’s disorientation and stranding, with L. monocytogenes having likely exacerbated the coinfection leading to the demise of this dolphin.


KEY WORDS: Meningoencephalitis · Toxoplasmosis · Listeriosis · Brucellosis · Stenella coeruleoalba


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Cite this article as: Grattarola C, Giorda F, Iulini B, Pintore MD and others (2016) Meningoencephalitis and Listeria monocytogenes, Toxoplasma gondii and Brucella spp. coinfection in a dolphin in Italy. Dis Aquat Org 118:169-174. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02957

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