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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 128:13-20 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03211

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

Geoffrey Foster1,*, Ingebjørg H. Nymo2,7, Kit M. Kovacs3, Kimberlee B. Beckmen4, Andrew C. Brownlow1, Johanna L. Baily5,8, Mark P. Dagleish5, Jakub Muchowski6, Lorraine L. Perrett6, Morten Tryland2, Christian Lydersen3, Jacques Godfroid2, Barry McGovern1,9, Adrian M. Whatmore6

1SAC Consulting Veterinary Services, Drummondhill, Stratherrick Road, Inverness IV2 4JZ, UK
2Arctic Infection Biology, Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Postboks 6050 Langnes, 9037 Tromsø, Norway
3Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
4Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 1300 College Road, Fairbanks, AK 99701-1551, USA
5Moredun Research Institute, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik, EH26 0PZ, UK
6APHA Weybridge, Woodham Lane, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB, UK
7Present address: Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Stakkevollveien 23, 9010 Tromsø, Norway
8Present address: Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK
9Present address: Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Laboratory, School of Veterinary Science, University of Queensland, QLD 4343, Australia
*Corresponding author:

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 the Chukchi Sea (1990-2011; 19%) and Svalbard (1995-2007; 8%), whereas no antibodies were detected in bearded seals from the Bering Sea or Bering Strait or from captive bearded seals.


KEY WORDS: Antibodies · Bearded seal · Brucella pinnipedialis · Isolation · Multilocus sequence typing · MLST


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Cite this article as: Foster G, Nymo IH, Kovacs KM, Beckmen KB and others (2018) First isolation of Brucella pinnipedialis and detection of Brucella antibodies from bearded seals Erignathus barbatus. Dis Aquat Org 128:13-20. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03211

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