Three pathogens coinfection in a dolphin

Stranded animals provide an exclusive opportunity to investigate the health and conservation status of free-ranging cetaceans across the globe. Based upon the scientific literature hitherto available on this topic, cetacean strandings frequently have a multifactorial aetiology, with both anthropogenic (or human-induced) and non-anthropogenic (or natural) causes playing a role in these events. An unprecedented case of Ureaplasma, Photobacterium damselae subsp. piscicida and Actinomyces-like coinfection is reported in an adult male bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) found stranded in 2014 along the Central Adriatic coast of Italy. Isolation of the three aforementioned pathogens was obtained from pleuropneumonia lesions, with a severe pyogranulomatous pneumonia and thoracic lymphadenopathy being observed at the dolphin’s necropsy.

Histologically, numerous Splendore-Hoeppli bodies were found scattered throughout the lung. Histochemical evidence of Actinomyces-like organisms was observed in the pulmonary parenchyma, with a strain of Photobacterium damselae subsp. piscicida and Ureaplasma spp. being also recovered from the same tissue. For the latter, a genome fragment of approximately 1400 bp from the 16s rDNA was amplified and sequenced. BLAST analysis revealed 100% identity with an uncultured Ureaplasma spp. (JQ193826.1).

Giovanni Di Guardo
University of Teramo, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Località Piano d’Accio, Teramo, Italy



Coinfection by Ureaplasma spp., Photobacterium damselae and an Actinomyces-like microorganism in a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) with pleuropneumonia stranded along the Adriatic coast of Italy.
Di Francesco G, Cammà C, Curini V, Mazzariol S, Proietto U, Di Francesco CE, Ferri N, Di Provvido A, Di Guardo G
Res Vet Sci. 2016 Apr


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