[MARMAM] New publication: Occurrence of Brucella ceti in striped dolphins from Italian Seas

Carla Grattarola carla.grattarola at izsto.it
Wed Oct 14 05:39:20 PDT 2020



Dear colleagues, 

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of our new paper "Occurrence of Brucella ceti in striped dolphins from Italian Seas" in PLoS ONE. 




The full article is available online at https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0240178 




Garofolo G, Petrella A, Lucifora G, Di Francesco G, Di Guardo G, Pautasso A, Iulini B, Varello K , Giorda F, Goria M, Dondo A, Zoppi S, Di Francesco CE, Giglio S, Ferringo F, Serrecchia L, Ferrantino MAR, Zilli K, Janowicz A, Tittarelli M, Mignone W, Casalone C, Grattarola C (2020) Occurrence of Brucella ceti in striped dolphins from Italian Seas. PLoS ONE 15(10): e0240178. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal. pone.0240178 





Abstract: Brucella ceti infections have been increasingly reported in cetaceans, although a very limited characterization of Mediterranean Brucella spp. isolates has been previously reported and relatively few data exist about brucellosis among cetaceans in Italy. To address this gap, we studied 8 cases of B. ceti infection in striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) stranded along the Italian coastline from 2012 to 2018, investigated thanks to the Italian surveillance activity on stranded cetaceans. We focused on cases of stranding in eastern and western Italian seas, occurred along the Apulia (N = 6), Liguria (N = 1) and Calabria (N = 1) coastlines, through the analysis of gross and microscopic findings, the results of microbiological, biomolecular and serological investigations, as well as the detection of other relevant pathogens. The comparative genomic analysis used whole genome sequences of B. ceti from Italy paired with the publicly available complete genomes. Pathological changes consistent with B. ceti infection were detected in the central nervous system of 7 animals, showing non-suppurative meningoencephalitis. In 4 cases severe coinfections were detected, mostly involving Dolphin Morbillivirus (DMV). The severity of B. ceti-associated lesions supports the role of this microbial agent as a primary neurotropic pathogen for striped dolphins. We classified the 8 isolates into the common sequence type 26 (ST-26). Whole genome SNP analysis showed that the strains from Italy clustered into two genetically distinct clades. The first clade comprised exclusively the isolates from Ionian and Adriatic Seas, while the second one included the strain from the Ligurian Sea and those from the Catalonian coast. Plotting these clades onto the geographic map suggests a link between their phylogeny and topographical distribution. These results represent the first extensive characterization of B. ceti isolated from Italian waters reported to date and show the usefulness of WGS for understanding of the evolution of this emerging pathogen. 




Kind regards, 

Carla Grattarola 


Carla Grattarola DVM 


Carla Grattarola - DVM 
S.C. Neuroscienze con annesso CEA - S.S. Laboratorio Neuropatologia 
Centro di Referenza per le Indagini Diagnostiche sui Mammiferi marini spiaggiati (C.Re.Di.Ma.) 
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte Liguria e Valle d'Aosta 
Via Bologna, 148 - 10154 Torino, Italia 
Tel. 011/2686296 
e-mail: carla.grattarola at izsto.it - www.izsto.it 

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