Vet Res. 2008 Nov-Dec;39(6):59. Epub 2008 Aug 23.
Bartonella species detection in captive, stranded and free-ranging cetaceans.
Center for Marine Sciences and Technology, Environmental Medicine Consortium, North Carolina State University, Morehead City, North Carolina 28557, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
We present prevalence of Bartonella spp. for multiple cohorts of wild and captive cetaceans. One hundred and six cetaceans including 86 bottlenose dolphins (71 free-ranging, 14 captive in a facility with a dolphin experiencing debility of unknown origin, 1 stranded), 11 striped dolphins, 4 harbor porpoises, 3 Risso's dolphins, 1 dwarf sperm whale and 1 pygmy sperm whale (all stranded) were sampled. Whole blood (n = 95 live animals) and tissues (n = 15 freshly dead animals) were screened by PCR (n = 106 animals), PCR of enrichment cultures (n = 50 animals), and subcultures (n = 50 animals).Bartonella spp. were detected from 17 cetaceans, including 12 by direct extraction PCR of blood or tissues, 6 by PCR of enrichment cultures, and 4 by subculture isolation. Bartonella spp. were more commonly detected from the captive (6/14, 43%) than from free-ranging (2/71, 2.8%) bottlenose dolphins, and were commonly detected from the stranded animals (9/21, 43%; 3/11 striped dolphins, 3/4 harbor porpoises, 2/3 Risso's dolphins, 1/1 pygmy sperm whale, 0/1 dwarf sperm whale, 0/1 bottlenose dolphin). Sequencing identified a Bartonella spp. most similar to B. henselae San Antonio 2 in eight cases (4 bottlenose dolphins, 2 striped dolphins, 2 harbor porpoises), B. henselae Houston 1 in three cases (2 Risso's dolphins, 1 harbor porpoise), and untyped in six cases (4 bottlenose dolphins, 1 striped dolphin, 1 pygmy sperm whale). Although disease causation has not been established, Bartonella species were detected more commonly from cetaceans that were overtly debilitated or were cohabiting in captivity with a debilitated animal than from free-ranging animals. The detection of Bartonella spp. from cetaceans may be of pathophysiological concern.
PMID: 18721502 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free full text