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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI:

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

    Nicholas J. Davison*, Mark P. Dagleish, Mariel ten Doeschate, Jakub Muchowski, Lorraine L. Perrett, Mara Rocchi, Adrian M. Whatmore, Andrew Brownlow

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Fatal marine Brucella infections with histologic lesions specific to the central nervous system (CNS), known as neurobrucellosis, have been described in five 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. These CNS lesions have, to date, only been associated with Brucella ceti ST26 and not Brucella pinnipedialis which is rarely isolated from cetaceans and, although found commonly 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 ST 24 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.