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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 132:203-208 (2019)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03320

Molecular detection of Chlamydia abortus in a stranded Mediterranean striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba

M. Santoro*, D. Iaccarino, F. Di Nocera, B. Degli Uberti, M. G. Lucibelli, G. Borriello, G. De Luca, M. D'Amore, A. Cerrone, G. Galiero

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Mezzogiorno, 80055 Portici, Italy
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: This study reports gross, histopathological, and molecular features of a Chlamydia abortus infection in a stranded female striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba from the Tyrrhenian coast of southern Italy. Post-mortem examination revealed liver congestion, splenic lymphoid depletion with capsular petechiae, and pneumonia. Histology revealed disseminated intravascular coagulation with vasculitis and congestion. Hepatocellular and acute myocardial degeneration were also observed. Basophilic, coccobacillary inclusions consistent with Chlamydia spp. were observed histologically in the type II pneumocytes, myocardial fibers, and hepatocytes, and in macrophages and plasma cells of liver, spleen, and prescapular lymph nodes. Chlamydial antigen was detected by immunofluorescence assay using genus-specific anti-Chlamydia antibodies. PCR assay revealed C. abortus in spleen, liver, heart, and lungs. C. abortus was the only pathogen detected. The main pathological changes suggest that Chlamydia infection may have been the cause of stranding and death of the striped dolphin. This case represents the first molecular detection of a member of the Chlamydiaceae in a marine mammal.


KEY WORDS: Chlamydia abortus · Chlamydiaceae · Septicemia · Zoonosis · Cetacean pathology · Molecular assay


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Cite this article as: Santoro M, Iaccarino D, Di Nocera F, Degli Uberti B and others (2019) Molecular detection of Chlamydia abortus in a stranded Mediterranean striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba. Dis Aquat Org 132:203-208. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03320

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