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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 130:177-185 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03271

Molecular identification and microscopic characterization of poxvirus in a Guiana dolphin and a common bottlenose dolphin, Brazil

Carlos Sacristán1,*, Fernando Esperón2, Juliana Marigo1, Ana Carolina Ewbank1, Rafael Ramos de Carvalho3, Kátia Regina Groch1, Pedro Volkmer de Castilho4, Angélica María Sánchez-Sarmiento1, Samira Costa-Silva1, Eduardo Ferreira-Machado1, Omar Antonio Gonzales-Viera5, Fábio G. Daura-Jorge6, Elitieri B. Santos-Neto3, José Lailson-Brito3, Alexandre de Freitas Azevedo3, Paulo C. Simões-Lopes6, Carlos G. Das Neves7, José Luiz Catão-Dias1

1Laboratório de Patologia Comparada de Animais Selvagens, Departamento de Patologia, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP 05508-270, Brazil
2Grupo de Epidemiología y Sanidad Ambiental, Centro de Investigación en Sanidad Animal (INIA-CISA), Valdeolmos, Madrid 28130, Spain
3Laboratório de Mamíferos Aquáticos e Bioindicadores ‘Profa Izabel M. G. do N. Gurgel’ (MAQUA), Faculdade de Oceanografia, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 20550-013, Brazil
4Departamento de Engenharia de Pesca, Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina, Laguna, SC 99790-000, Brazil
5Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA
6Laboratório de Mamíferos Aquáticos, Departamento de Ecologia e Zoologia, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, SC 88040-970, Brazil
7Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Oslo 0454, Norway
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The poxviruses identified in cetaceans are associated with characteristic tattoo or ring skin lesions. However, little is known regarding the prevalence and progression of these lesions and the molecular characterization of cetacean poxviruses in the Southern Hemisphere. This manuscript describes the progression of poxvirus-like skin lesions in 5 free-ranging Guiana dolphins Sotalia guianensis. Additionally, 151 skin samples from 113 free-ranging cetaceans from Brazil, including 4 animals with tattoo skin lesions, were selected for poxvirus testing. Poxviral DNA polymerase gene PCR amplification was used to detect the virus in β-actin-positive samples (145/151). DNA topoisomerase I gene PCR was then used in Cetaceanpoxvirus (CePV)-positive cases (n = 2), which were further evaluated by histopathology and electron microscopy. Based on photo-identification, adult Guiana dolphins presented regressing or healed poxvirus-like lesions (2/2), while juveniles presented persistent (2/3) or healed and progressive lesions (1/3). CePV DNA was amplified in a common bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus and in a Guiana dolphin. Intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies and viral particles consistent with poxvirus were identified by histology and electron microscopy, respectively. CePV-specific amino acid motifs were identified through phylogenetic analysis. Our findings corroborate previous studies that suggest the placement of poxviruses from cetaceans within the novel CePV genus. This is the first molecular identification of poxvirus in South American odontocetes.


KEY WORDS: Cetacean poxvirus · Tattoo lesion · Pathology · Virology · Sotalia guianensis · Tursiops truncatus · South America


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Cite this article as: Sacristán C, Esperón F, Marigo J, Ewbank AC and others (2018) Molecular identification and microscopic characterization of poxvirus in a Guiana dolphin and a common bottlenose dolphin, Brazil. Dis Aquat Org 130:177-185. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03271

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