Brucella ceti infection in dolphins from the Western Mediterranean sea

Marcos Isidoro-Ayza, Nazareth Ruiz-Villalobos, Lola Pérez, Caterina Guzmán-Verri, Pilar M. Muñoz, Fernando Alegre, Montserrat Barberán, Carlos Chacón-Díaz, Esteban Chaves-Olarte, Rocio González-Barrientos, Edgardo Moreno, José M. Blasco, Mariano Domingo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Isidoro-Ayza et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Background: Brucella ceti infections have been increasingly reported in cetaceans. Brucellosis in these animals is associated with meningoencephalitis, abortion, discospondylitis', subcutaneous abscesses, endometritis and other pathological conditions B. ceti infections have been frequently described in dolphins from both, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In the Mediterranean Sea, only two reports have been made: one from the Italian Tyrrhenian Sea and the other from the Adriatic Sea.Results: We describe the clinical and pathological features of three cases of B. ceti infections in three dolphins stranded in the Mediterranean Catalonian coast. One striped dolphin had neurobrucellosis, showing lethargy, incoordination and lateral swimming due to meningoencephalitis, A B. ceti infected bottlenose dolphin had discospondylitis, and another striped dolphin did not show clinical signs or lesions related to Brucella infection. A detailed characterization of the three B. ceti isolates was performed by bacteriological, molecular, protein and fatty acid analyses.Conclusions: All the B. ceti strains originating from Mediterranean dolphins cluster together in a distinct phylogenetic clade, close to that formed by B. ceti isolates from dolphins inhabiting the Atlantic Ocean. Our study confirms the severity of pathological signs in stranded dolphins and the relevance of B. ceti as a pathogen in the Mediterranean Sea.
Original languageEnglish
Article number206
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalBMC Veterinary Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2014


  • Brucella ceti
  • Cetacean
  • Discospondylitis
  • Mediterranean sea
  • Neurobrucellosis


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