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Title: Novel dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) outbreak among Mediterranean striped dolphins Stenella coeruleoalba in Italian waters
Authors: Pautasso, Alessandra
Iulini, Barbara
Grattarola, Carla
Giorda, Federica
Goria, Maria
Peletto, Simone
Masoero, Loretta
Mignone, Walter
Varello, Katia
Petrella, Antonio
Carbone, Antonio
Pintore, Antonio
Denurra, Daniele
Scholl, Francesco
Cersini, Antonella
Puleio, Roberto
Purpari, Giuseppa
Lucifora, Giuseppe
Fusco, Giovanna
Guardo, Giovanni Di
Mazzariol, Sandro
Casalone, Cristina
Keywords: Italian Sea
Striped Dolphins
Unusual Mortality Event
Issue Date: 2019
Journal: Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 
Abstract: An unusual mortality event (UME) of striped dolphins Stenella coeruleoalba occurred in the period July to December 2016 along the Italian Ionian coastline. We conducted a complete postmortem examination on 28 specimens and detected dolphin morbillivirus (DMV), by means of biomolecular analyses, in the target tissues of 17 animals. Unlike previous outbreaks occurring in the Mediterranean Sea in 2011 and 2013, we observed typical pathological changes suggestive of morbilliviral infection in an acute/subacute phase and immunohistochemical reactivity. The same findings were observed in 13 other specimens beached along the Italian coastline during 2016 with no temporal and geographical relationship with the ongoing epidemic outbreak. Molecular characterization and phylogenetic analysis showed that DMV sequences detected in Italy in 2016 clustered with those identified in Portugal and Galicia (Spain), representing a novel DMV strain of Atlantic origin which entered the Mediterranean Sea and affected a naïve striped dolphin population. DMV sequences detected in the previous Mediterranean outbreaks exhibited a marked genetic relatedness and diverged from those detected in cetaceans stranded along the Galician and Portuguese coasts since 2007.
ISSN: 0177-5103
DOI: 10.3354/dao03323
Source: Diseases of Aquatic Organisms [ISSN 0177-5103], v. 132 (3), p. 215-220
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