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Van Bressem M.-F.,Cetacean Conservation Medicine Group CMED | Minton G.,University Malaysia Sarawak | Minton G.,British Petroleum | Sutaria D.,James Cook University | And 7 more authors.
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms | Year: 2014

The presence of cutaneous nodules is reported in vulnerable populations of Irra - waddy dolphins Orcaella brevirostris from Malaysia (Kuching, Bintulu-Similajau, Kinabatangan-Segama and Penang Island), India (Chilika Lagoon) and Bangladesh (Sundarbans). Approximately 5700 images taken for photo-identification studies in 2004 to 2013 were examined for skin disorders. Nodules were detected in 6 populations. They appeared as circumscribed elevations of the skin and varied in size from 2 to >30 mm, were sparse or numerous and occurred on all visible body areas. In 8 photo-identified (PI) dolphins from India and Malaysia, the lesions remained stable (N = 2) or progressed (N = 6) over months but did not regress. The 2 most severely affected individuals were seen in Kuching and the Chilika Lagoon. Their fate is unknown. Cutaneous nodules were sampled in a female that died in a gillnet in Kuching in 2012. Histologically, the lesions consisted of thick collagen bundles covered by a moderately hyperplasic epithelium and were diagnosed as fibropapillomas. Whether the nodules observed in the other O. brevirostris were also fibropapillomas remains to be investigated. Disease prevalence ranged from 2.2% (N = 46; Bintulu-Similajau) to 13.9% (N = 72; Chilika) in 4 populations from Malaysia and India. It was not significantly different in 3 study areas in eastern Malaysia. In Chilika, prevalence was significantly higher (p = 0.00078) in 2009 to 2011 (13.9%) than in 2004 to 2006 (2.8%) in 72 PI dolphins. The emergence of a novel disease in vulnerable O. brevirostris populations is of concern. © Inter-Research 2014.


Van Bressem M.-F.,Cetacean Conservation Medicine Group CMED | Duignan P.J.,University of Calgary | Banyard A.,Animal and Plant Health Agency APHA | Barbieri M.,The Marine Mammal Center | And 30 more authors.
Viruses | Year: 2014

We review the molecular and epidemiological characteristics of cetacean morbillivirus (CeMV) and the diagnosis and pathogenesis of associated disease, with six different strains detected in cetaceans worldwide. CeMV has caused epidemics with high mortality in odontocetes in Europe, the USAand Australia. It represents a distinct species within the Morbillivirusgenus. Although most CeMV strains are phylogenetically closely related, recent data indicate that morbilliviruses recovered from Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus), from Western Australia, and a Guiana dolphin (Sotalia guianensis), from Brazil, are divergent. The signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM) cell receptor for CeMV has been characterized in cetaceans. It shares higher amino acid identity with the ruminant SLAM than with the receptors of carnivores or humans, reflecting the evolutionary history of these mammalian taxa. In Delphinidae, three amino acid substitutions may result in a higher affinity for the virus. Infection is diagnosed by histology, immunohistochemistry, virus isolation, RT-PCR, and serology. Classical CeMV-associated lesions include bronchointerstitial pneumonia, encephalitis, syncytia, and lymphoid depletion associated with immunosuppression. Cetaceans that survive the acute disease may develop fatal secondary infections and chronic encephalitis. Endemicallyinfected, gregarious odontocetes probably serve as reservoirs and vectors. Transmission likely occurs through the inhalation of aerosolized virus but mother to fetus transmission was also reported. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license.


Duignan P.J.,University of Calgary | Van Bressem M.-F.,Cetacean Conservation Medicine Group CMED | Baker J.D.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Barbieri M.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | And 29 more authors.
Viruses | Year: 2014

Phocine distemper virus (PDV) was first recognized in 1988 following a massive epidemic in harbor and grey seals in north-western Europe. Since then, the epidemiology of infection in North Atlantic and Arctic pinnipeds has been investigated. In the western North Atlantic endemic infection in harp and grey seals predates the European epidemic, with relatively small, localized mortality events occurring primarily in harbor seals. By contrast, PDV seems not to have become established in European harbor seals following the 1988 epidemic and a second event of similar magnitude and extent occurred in 2002. PDV is a distinct species within the Morbillivirus genus with minor sequence variation between outbreaks over time. There is now mounting evidence of PDV-like viruses in the North Pacific/Western Arctic with serological and molecular evidence of infection in pinnipeds and sea otters. However, despite the absence of associated mortality in the region, there is concern that the virus may infect the large Pacific harbor seal and northern elephant seal populations or the endangered Hawaiian monk seals. Here, we review the current state of knowledge on PDV with particular focus on developments in diagnostics, pathogenesis, immune response, vaccine development, phylogenetics and modeling over the past 20 years. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Gottschling M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Bravo I.G.,Center for Public Health Research | Schulz E.,Charite - Medical University of Berlin | Bracho M.A.,Center for Public Health Research | And 5 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2011

The phylogenetic position of cetacean papillomaviruses (PVs: Omikron-PVs and Upsilon-PVs) varies depending on the region of the genome analysed. They cluster together with Alpha-PVs when analysing early genes and with Xi-PVs and Phi-PVs when analysing late genes. We cloned and sequenced the complete genomes of five novel PVs, sampled from genital and oesophageal lesions of free-ranging cetaceans: Delphinus delphis (DdPV1), Lagenorhynchus acutus (TtPV3 variant), and Phocoena phocoena (PphPV1, PphPV2, and PphPV3). Using Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian approaches, all cetacean PVs constituted a monophyletic group with Alpha-, Omega-, and Dyodelta-PVs as inferred from E1-E2 early genes analyses, thus matching the shared phenotype of mucosal tropism. However, cetacean PVs, with the exception of PphPV3, were the closest relatives of Xi-PVs and Phi-PVs in L2-L1 late genes analyses, isolated from cow and goat, thus reflecting the close relationship between Cetacea and Artiodactyla. Our results are compatible with a recombination between ancestral PVs infecting the Cetartiodactyla lineage. Our study supports a complex evolutionary scenario with multiple driving forces for PV diversification, possibly including recombination and also interspecies transmission. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.


Van Bressem M.-F.,Cetacean Conservation Medicine Group CMED | Simoes-Lopes P.C.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Felix F.,Museo de Ballenas | Kiszka J.J.,Florida International University | And 12 more authors.
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms | Year: 2015

We report on the epidemiology of lobomycosis-like disease (LLD), a cutaneous disorder evoking lobomycosis, in 658 common bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus from South America and 94 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins T. aduncus from southern Africa. Photographs and stranding records of 387 inshore residents, 60 inshore non-residents and 305 specimens of undetermined origin (inshore and offshore) were examined for the presence of LLD lesions from 2004 to 2015. Seventeen residents, 3 non-residents and 1 inshore dolphin of unknown residence status were positive. LLD lesions appeared as single or multiple, light grey to whitish nodules and plaques that may ulcerate and increase in size over time. Among resident dolphins, prevalence varied significantly among 4 communities, being low in Posorja (2.35%, n = 85), Ecuador, and high in Salinas, Ecuador (16.7%, n = 18), and Laguna, Brazil (14.3%, n = 42). LLD prevalence increased in 36 T. truncatus from Laguna from 5.6% in 2007-2009 to 13.9% in 2013-2014, albeit not significantly. The disease has persisted for years in dolphins from Mayotte, Laguna, Salinas, the Sanquianga National Park and Bahía Málaga (Colombia) but vanished from the Tramandaí Estuary and the Mampituba River (Brazil). The geographical range of LLD has expanded in Brazil, South Africa and Ecuador, in areas that have been regularly surveyed for 10 to 35 yr. Two of the 21 LLD-affected dolphins were found dead with extensive lesions in southern Brazil, and 2 others disappeared, and presumably died, in Ecuador. These observations stress the need for targeted epidemiological, histological and molecular studies of LLD in dolphins, especially in the Southern Hemisphere. © Inter-Research 2015.

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