DAO 127:137-144 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03190

NOTE
Occlusive mycotic tracheobronchitis and systemic Alphaherpesvirus coinfection in a free-living striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba in Italy

Carla Grattarola1, Federica Giorda1, Barbara Iulini1, Alessandra Pautasso1, Marco Ballardini2, Simona Zoppi1, Letizia Marsili3, Simone Peletto1, Loretta Masoero1, Katia Varello1, Fulvio Garibaldi4, Frine E. Scaglione5, Giovanni Di Guardo6, Alessandro Dondo1, Maria Goria1, Laura Serracca7, Walter Mignone2, Cristina Casalone1,*

1C.Re.Di.Ma., Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d’Aosta, 10154 Torino, Italy
2C.Re.Di.Ma., Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d’Aosta, 18100 Imperia, Italy
3Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’Ambiente, Università degli Studi di Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy
4Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell’Ambiente e della Vita, Università di Genova, 16132 Genova, Italy
5Facoltà di Medicina Veterinaria, Università di Torino, 10095 Grugliasco (To), Italy
6Facoltà di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Teramo, 64100 Teramo, Italy
7C.Re.Di.Ma., Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d’Aosta, 19100 La Spezia, Italy
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: A juvenile female striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba live stranded on 4 March 2016 at Alassio, western Ligurian Sea coast, Italy. The dolphin died shortly after stranding, and a complete postmortem examination was performed. Necropsy revealed severe tracheal occlusion and unilateral bronchial stenosis with luminal accumulation of abundant green-yellow mucous-gelatinous material. Histological features suggestive of tracheobronchial aspergillosis were observed. Cultures of lung tissue and tracheo-bronchial exudate isolated Aspergillus fumigatus, identified by a Microseq D2 LSUrDNA fungal sequencing kit. A pan-Herpesvirus nested-PCR assay on frozen samples obtained from multiple organs was positive. Phylogenetic analysis on the partial DNA polymerase gene revealed that the striped dolphin isolate was closely related to known cetacean Alphaherpesvirus sequences from the same host species. Attempted virus isolation was unsuccessful. The tissue levels of different persistent organic pollutants and the toxicological stress, evaluated using a theoretical model, showed a severely impaired immune response. This study reports the first case of occlusive mycotic tracheobronchitis in a free-living cetacean and the first molecular identification of an Alphaherpesvirus in a free-ranging striped dolphin stranded on the coast of Italy.


KEY WORDS: Herpesvirus · Aspergillus · Dolphin · Tracheobronchitis · Immunosuppression


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Cite this article as: Grattarola C, Giorda F, Iulini B, Pautasso A and others (2018) Occlusive mycotic tracheobronchitis and systemic Alphaherpesvirus coinfection in a free-living striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba in Italy. Dis Aquat Org 127:137-144. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03190

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