DAO 122:195-203 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03069

Fatal bacterial septicemia in a bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus caused by Streptococcus iniae

Zhiqi Song1, Ruichao Yue1, Yanming Sun2, Chunfa Liu1, Sher Hayat Khan1, Chaosi Li1, Ying Zhao1, Xiangmei Zhou1, Lifeng Yang1, Deming Zhao1,*

1The State Key Laboratories for Agrobiotechnology, Key Lab of Animal Epidemiology and Zoonosis, Ministry of Agriculture; National Animal Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy Laboratory; Department of Veterinary Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, PR China
2Beijing Aquarium, Beijing 100081, PR China
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: A captive 8 yr old male bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus succumbed to septicemia with multisystemic inflammation including suppurative enteritis, encephalitis, and pneumonia with chronic pancreatitis. A pure culture of beta-hemolytic, catalase- and oxidase-negative, Gram-positive cocci was isolated from the hilar lymph nodes and pancreas. The isolate was identified by 16S rDNA sequencing as Streptococcus iniae. Histological examination of the digestive system revealed a mixed infection of both bacteria and fungus. Recognized as a pathogen in fish, dolphins, and humans, this is the first report of S. iniae in a dolphin in mainland China. As the number of managed animals in oceanariums is increasing, so is the frequency of contact with fish used as food for marine mammals and humans, highlighting the importance of education and appropriate personal protective protocols to minimize the risk of transmission. An understanding of marine mammal infectious disease organisms is essential to ensuring the health of marine mammals and humans coming into contact with such animals and their food. This study illustrates a systematic clinical, microbiological, and pathological investigation into a septicemic bottlenose dolphin infected with S. iniae. Our findings provide useful information for those involved in the diagnosis and control of infectious diseases in marine mammals and offer insight into an important zoonotic pathogen.


KEY WORDS: Streptococcus iniae · Bottlenose dolphin · Zoonosis


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Cite this article as: Song Z, Yue R, Sun Y, Liu C and others (2017) Fatal bacterial septicemia in a bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus caused by Streptococcus iniae. Dis Aquat Org 122:195-203. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03069

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