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Veterinary microbiology

Identification and typing of Brucella spp. in stranded harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) on the Dutch coast.


PMID 25115787

Abstract

The presence of Brucella (B.) spp. in harbour porpoises stranded between 2008 and 2011 along the Dutch coast was studied. A selection of 265 tissue samples from 112 animals was analysed using conventional and molecular methods. In total, 4.5% (5/112) of the animals corresponding with 2.3% (6/265) Brucella positive tissue samples were Brucella positive by culture and these were all confirmed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (real-time PCR) based on the insertion element 711 (IS711). In addition, two more Brucella-positive tissue samples from two animals collected in 2011 were identified using real-time PCR resulting in an overall Brucella prevalence of 6.3% (7/112 animals). Brucella spp. were obtained from lungs (n=3), pulmonary lymph node (n=3) and lungworms (n=2). Multi Locus Variable Number of Tandem Repeats (VNTR) Analysis (MLVA) typing based on the MLVA-16 showed that the Brucella isolates were B. ceti. Additional in silico Multi Locus Sequence typing (MLST) after whole genome sequencing of the 6 Brucella isolates confirmed B. ceti ST 23. According to the Brucella 2010 MLVA database, the isolated Brucella strains encountered were of five genotypes, in two distinct subclusters divided in two different time periods of harbour porpoises collection. This study is the first population based analyses for Brucella spp. infections in cetaceans stranded along the Dutch coast.