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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 129:165-174 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03248

Morbillivirus infection in Risso’s dolphin Grampus griseus: a phylogenetic and pathological study of cases from the Canary Islands

Eva Sierra1,2, Antonio Fernández1,*, Daniele Zucca1, Nakita Câmara1, Idaira Felipe-Jiménez1, Cristian Suárez-Santana1, Yara Bernaldo de Quirós1, Josué Díaz-Delgado2, Manuel Arbelo1

1Department of Veterinary Pathology, Institute of Animal Health, Veterinary School, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 35413 Las Palmas, Spain
2Department of Anatomy and Comparative Pathology, Veterinary Faculty, University of Córdoba, Animal Health Building, Campus de Rabanales, Ctra. Madrid-Cádiz km. 396, 14014 Córdoba, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The earliest evidence of cetacean morbillivirus (CeMV) infection dates from 1982, when the dolphin morbillivirus strain (DMV) was identified in bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus stranded in the mid-Atlantic region. Since then, CeMV has been detected globally in at least 26 species of mysticetes and odontocetes, causing widespread mortality and a wide range of pathological effects. In the Canary Islands, DMV and pilot whale morbillivirus have been detected in cetacean species, including short-finned pilot whales Globicephala macrorhynchus and bottlenose dolphins. Risso’s dolphins Grampus griseus have been reported year-round in waters of the Canary Islands and are considered a resident species. No information is currently available on CeMV prevalence in this species in this ocean region. We searched for evidence of CeMV infection in 12 Risso’s dolphins stranded in the Canary Islands from 2003 to 2015 by means of histopathology, PCR and immunohistochemistry. PCR revealed 2 CeMV-positive animals (16.6%). Phylogenetic analysis showed that the strains from the 2 positive specimens were phylogenetically quite distant, proving that more than 1 strain infects the Risso’s dolphin population in this region. We also determined that the strain detected in one of the specimens mainly circulated in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean from 2007 to 2013.


KEY WORDS: Central eastern Atlantic Ocean · Cetaceans · Morbillivirus · Non-suppurative meningoencephalitis · Risso’s dolphin


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Cite this article as: Sierra E, Fernández A, Zucca D, Câmara N and others (2018) Morbillivirus infection in Risso’s dolphin Grampus griseus: a phylogenetic and pathological study of cases from the Canary Islands. Dis Aquat Org 129:165-174. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03248

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