Bart Porpoises

J Wildl Dis. 2008 Oct;44(4):871-7.

Bartonella henselae in captive and hunter-harvested beluga (Delphinapterus leucas).

Maggi RG, Raverty SA, Lester SJ, Huff DG, Haulena M, Ford SL, Nielsen O, Robinson JH, Breitschwerdt EB.


College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606, USA.


Previously, we reported the isolation of Bartonella henselae from the blood of harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) and loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) from the North Carolina coast. Hematologic, pathologic, and microbiologic findings surrounding the death of a juvenile captive beluga in Vancouver initiated an outbreak investigation designed to define the molecular prevalence of Bartonella infection in belugas. Using polymerase chain reaction analyses targeting the intergenic spacer region (ITS), two B. henselae ITS strains were identified in 78% of captive and free-ranging hunter-harvested belugas. These findings may have public health implications and may influence aquarium management procedures for captive marine mammals.

PMID: 18957643 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free full text

Emerg Infect Dis. 2005 Dec;11(12):1894-8.

Bartonella henselae in porpoise blood.

Maggi RG, Harms CA, Hohn AA, Pabst DA, McLellan WA, Walton WJ, Rotstein DS, Breitschwerdt EB.


Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606, USA.


We report detection of Bartonella henselae DNA in blood samples from 2 harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). By using real-time polymerase chain reaction, we directly amplified Bartonella species DNA from blood of a harbor porpoisestranded along the northern North Carolina coast and from a pre-enrichment blood culture from a second harbor porpoise. The second porpoise was captured out of habitat (in a low-salinity canal along the northern North Carolina coast) and relocated back into the ocean. Subsequently, DNA was amplified by conventional polymerase chain reaction for DNA sequencing. The 16S-23S intergenic transcribed spacer region obtained from each porpoise was 99.8% similar to that of B. henselae strain San Antonio 2 (SA2), whereas both heme-binding phage-associated pap31 gene sequences were 100% homologous to that of B. henselae SA2. Currently, the geographic distribution, mode of transmission, reservoir potential, and pathogenicity of bloodborne Bartonella species in porpoises have not been determined.

PMID: 16485476 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]