[MARMAM] New publication: "Epidemiological and genetic analysis of Cetacean Morbillivirus circulating in the Italian coast between 2018 and 2021"

Ignacio Vargas Castro ignavarg at ucm.es
Mon Jul 31 05:57:50 PDT 2023

Dear MARMAM community,

My co-authors and I are pleased to share our most recent publication titled
"Epidemiological and genetic analysis of Cetacean Morbillivirus circulating
in the Italian coast between 2018 and 2021".

You will find the open access publication at the *link*:

*Citation*: Vargas-Castro I, Peletto S, Mattioda V, Goria M, Serracca L,
Varello K, Sánchez-Vizcaíno JM, Puleio R, Nocera FD, Lucifora G, Acutis P,
Casalone C, Grattarola C and Giorda F (2023) Epidemiological and genetic
analysis of Cetacean Morbillivirus circulating on the Italian coast between
2018 and 2021. Front. Vet. Sci. 10:1216838. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2023.1216838


Cetacean morbillivirus (CeMV) has caused several outbreaks, unusual
mortality events, and interepidemic single-lethal disease episodes in
theMediterranean Sea. Since 2012, a new strain with a northeast (NE)
Atlantic origin has been circulating among Mediterranean cetaceans, causing
numerous deaths. The objective of this study was to determine the
prevalence of CeMV in cetaceans stranded in Italy between 2018 and 2021 and
characterize the strain of CeMV circulating. Out of the 354 stranded
cetaceans along the Italian coastlines, 113 were CeMV-positive. This
prevalence (31.9%) is one of the highest reported without an associated
outbreak. All marine sectors along the Italian coastlines, except for the
northern Adriatic coast, reported a positive molecular diagnosis of CeMV.
In one-third of the CeMV-positive cetaceans submitted to a histological
evaluation, a chronic form of the infection (detectable viral antigen, the
absence of associated lesions, and concomitant coinfections) was suspected.
Tissues from 24 animals were used to characterize the strain, obtaining 57
sequences from phosphoprotein, nucleocapsid, and fusion protein genes,
which were submitted to GenBank. Our sequences showed the highest identity
with NE-Atlantic strain sequences, and in the phylogenetic study, they
clustered together with them. Regarding age and species,most of these
individuals were adults (17/24, 70.83%) and striped dolphins (19/24,
79.16%). This study improves our understanding on the NE-Atlantic CeMV
strain in the Italian waters, supporting the hypothesis of an endemic
circulation of the virus in this area; however, additional studies are
necessary to deeply comprehend the epidemiology of this strain in the
Mediterranean Sea.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for any questions you may have.

Kind regards,

Ignacio Vargas-Castro

*Ignacio Vargas Castro*

DVM, PhD Student

Viral Immunology and Preventive Medicine Unit (SUAT)
VISAVET Health Surveillance Centre & Animal Health Department
Universidad Complutense Madrid

Av. Puerta de Hierro, s/n. 28040 Madrid.
Spainignavarg at ucm.eswww.sanidadanimal.info

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