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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 144:231-235 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03590

NOTE
Meningoencephalitis in a common minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata associated with Brucella pinnipedialis and gamma-herpesvirus infection

Nicholas J. Davison1,*, Mark P. Dagleish2, Mariel ten Doeschate1, Jakub Muchowski3, Lorraine L. Perrett3, Mara Rocchi2, Adrian M. Whatmore3, Andrew Brownlow1

1Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, SRUC Northern Faculty, An Lòchran, Inverness Campus, Inverness IV2 5NA, UK
2Moredun Research Institute, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik, Edinburgh EH26 0PZ, UK
3Department of Bacteriology, Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), New Haw, Addlestone KT15 3NB, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Fatal marine Brucella infections with histologic lesions specific to the central nervous system (CNS), known as neurobrucellosis, have been described in 5 species of odontocete cetaceans in the UK: striped dolphins Stenella coeruleoalba, Atlantic white-sided dolphins Lagenorhynchus acutus, short-beaked common dolphins Delphinus delphis, long-finned pilot whale Globicephala melas and Sowerby’s beaked whale Mesoplodon bidens. To date, these CNS lesions have only been associated with Brucella ceti ST26 and not with B. pinnipedialis, which is rarely isolated from cetaceans and, although commonly found in various seal species, has never been associated with any pathology. This paper describes the first report of neurobrucellosis in a common minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata which was associated with the isolation of Brucella pinnipedialis ST24 and co-infection with Balaenoptera acutorostrata gamma-herpesvirus 2. This is the first report of neurobrucellosis in any species of mysticete and the first report of Brucella pinnipedialis in association with any pathology in any species of marine mammal, which may be due to co-infection with a herpesvirus, as these are known to be associated with immunosuppression.


KEY WORDS: Balaenoptera acutorostrata · Isolation · Brucella pinnipedialis · Meningoencephalitis · Neurobrucellosis · Herpesvirus · United Kingdom


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Cite this article as: Davison NJ, Dagleish MP, ten Doeschate M, Muchowski J and others (2021) Meningoencephalitis in a common minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata associated with Brucella pinnipedialis and gamma-herpesvirus infection. Dis Aquat Org 144:231-235. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03590

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