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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    Serological screening for Brucella spp. and Leptospira spp. antibodies insouthern elephant seals Mirounga leonina from Elephant Island, Antarctica in 2003 and 2004

    Angélica M. Sánchez-Sarmiento*, Valeria Ruoppolo, Mônica Mathias Costa Muelbert, José Soares Ferreira Neto, José L. Catão-Dias

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Brucella spp. and Leptospira spp. antibodies were surveyed in 35 southern elephant seals (SESs) Mirounga leonina at Elephant Island (South Shetlands Islands 61°05’S 55°20’W), Western Antarctic Peninsula, in the Austral summer of 2003 and 2004. The rose bengal test (RBT) and a commercial competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (c-ELISA) were used to detect Brucella spp. exposure, and the microscopic agglutination test (MAT) with 22 live serovars was used to determine anti-Leptospira spp. antibodies. We found evidence of Brucella spp. exposure in 3/35 (8.6%) of the SESs tested via the c-ELISA displaying high percentage inhibition (PI), similar to other studies in pinnipeds in which Brucella spp. antibodies have been determined. Two of the 3 positives were seal pups (PI = 70.4 and 86.6%), while the third was an adult female seal (PI =4 8.8%). The 3 c-ELISA positive SESs were additionally tested via the serum agglutination test but were found to be negative. All individuals were negative for antibodies against 22 Leptospira spp. serovars by MAT. These results contribute to the knowledge and monitoring of zoonotic pathogens with epizootic potential in Southern Ocean pinnipeds. Given the potential impact that pathogens may have on the abundance of wild (sometimes threatened and endangered) populations, constant monitoring and surveillance are required to prevent pathogen spread, particularly under forecast climate change scenarios.