[MARMAM] Review article about brucellosis in marine mammals

Nymo Ingebjørg Helena Ingebjorg.Nymo at nvh.no
Wed Aug 17 01:18:45 PDT 2011

A review of Brucella infection in marine mammals, with special emphasis on Brucella pinnipedialis in the hooded seal (Cystophora cristata)

Ingebjorg H. Nymo, Morten Tryland and Jacques Godfroid

Veterinary Research 2011, 42:93 doi:10.1186/1297-9716-42-93


Brucella spp. were isolated from marine mammals for the first time in 1994. Two novel species were later included in the genus; Brucella ceti and Brucella pinnipedialis, with cetaceans and seals as their preferred hosts, respectively. Brucella spp. have since been isolated from a variety of marine mammals. Pathological changes, including lesions of the reproductive organs and associated abortions, have only been registered in cetaceans. The zoonotic potential differs among the marine mammal Brucella strains. Many techniques, both classical typing and molecular microbiology, have been utilised for characterisation of the marine mammal Brucella spp. and the change from the band-based approaches to the sequence-based approaches has greatly increased our knowledge about these strains. Several clusters have been identified within the B. ceti and B. pinnipedialis species, and multiple studies have shown that the hooded seal isolates differ from other pinniped isolates. We describe how different molecular methods have contributed to species identification and differentiation of B. ceti and B. pinnipedialis, with special emphasis on the hooded seal isolates. We further discuss the potential role of B. pinnipedialis for the declining Northwest Atlantic hooded seal population.

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