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Health and Environmental Risk Assessment Project for bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus from the southeastern USA. I. Infectious diseases
  • Published Date:
  • Source:
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 125(2), 141-153.
Filetype[PDF-791.86 KB]

  • Description:
    From 2003 to 2015, 360 free-ranging Atlantic bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus inhabiting the Indian River Lagoon (IRL, n = 246), Florida, and coastal waters of Charleston (CHS, n = 114), South Carolina, USA, were captured, given comprehensive health examinations, and released as part of a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional study of individual and population health. The aim of this review is to summarize the substantial health data generated by this study and to examine morbidity between capture sites and over time. The IRL and CHS dolphin populations are affected by complex infectious and neoplastic diseases often associated with immunologic disturbances. We found evidence of infection with cetacean morbillivirus, dolphin papilloma and herpes viruses, Chlamydiaceae, a novel uncultivated strain of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis (recently identified as the causal agent of dolphin lobomycosis/lacaziasis), and other pathogens. This is the first long-term study documenting the various types, progression, seroprevalence, and pathologic interrelationships of infectious diseases in dolphins from the southeastern USA. Additionally, the study has demonstrated that the bottlenose dolphin is a valuable sentinel animal that may reflect environmental health concerns and parallel emerging public health issues.
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