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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03644

    Brucella ceti sequence type 23, 26, and 27 infections in North American cetaceans

    Jeffrey B. Curtiss*, Kathleen M. Colegrove, Allison Dianis, Michael J. Kinsel, Nadia Ahmed, Deborah Fauquier, Teresa Rowles, Misty Niemeyer, David S. Rotstein, Carol W. Maddox, Karen A. Terio

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Brucella ceti infection is associated with a variety of disease outcomes in cetaceans globally. Multiple genotypes of B. ceti have been identified. This retrospective aimed to determine if specific lesions were associated with different B. ceti DNA sequence types. Characterization of sequence type (ST) was performed on 163 samples from 88 free-ranging cetaceans including common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus; T.t.) (n = 73), common short-beaked dolphin (Delphinus delphis; D.d.) (n = 7), striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba; S.c.) (n = 3), Pacific white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens; L.o.) (n = 2), sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus; P.m.) (n = 2), and harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena; P.p.) (n = 1) that stranded along the coast of the US mainland and Hawaii. ST was determined using a previously described IS711 qPCR. Concordance with 9-locus MLST was assessed in a subset of samples (n = 18). ST 26 was most commonly identified in adult dolphins along the US east coast with non-suppurative meningoencephalitis (p = 0.009). Animals infected with ST 27 type were predominately perinates that were aborted or died shortly after birth with evidence of in-utero pneumonia (p = 0.035). Reproductive tract inflammation and meningoencephalitis were also observed in adult T.t. and D.d. with ST 27, though low sample size limited interpretation. ST 23 infections can cause disease in cetacean families other than porpoises (Phocoenidae), including neurobrucellosis in D.d. Eleven animals were potentially infected with multiple ST types. These data indicate differences in pathogenesis among B. ceti sequence types in free-ranging cetaceans and infection with multiple sequence types is possible.