DAO prepress abstract  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03211

First isolation of Brucella pinnipedialis and detection of Brucella antibodies from bearded seals Erignathus barbatus

Geoffrey Foster, Ingebjørg H. Nymo, Kit M. Kovacs, Kimberlee B. Beckmen, Andrew C. Brownlow, Johanna L. Baily, Mark P. Dagleish, Jakub Muchowski, Lorraine L. Perrett, Morten Tryland, Christian Lydersen, Jacques Godfroid, Barry McGovern, Adrian M. Whatmore

*Email: Geoffrey.foster@sac.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Brucella species infecting marine mammals was first reported in 1994 and in the years since has been documented in various species of pinnipeds and cetaceans. While these reports have included species that inhabit Arctic waters, the few available studies on bearded seals Erignathus barbatus have failed to detect Brucella infection to date. We report the first isolation of Brucella pinnipedialis from a bearded seal. The isolate was recovered from the mesenteric lymph node of a bearded seal that stranded in Scotland and typed as ST24, a sequence type associated typically with pinnipeds. Furthermore, serological studies of free-ranging bearded seals in their native waters detected antibodies to Brucella in seals from Chukchi Sea (1990–2011; 19%) and Svalbard (1995–2007; 8%), whereas no antibodies were detected in bearded seals from the Bering Sea, Bering Strait or from captive bearded seals.