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An insight into the epidemiology of dolphin morbillivirus worldwide
Van Bressem, M.-F.; Van Waerebeek, K.; Jepson, P.D.; Raga, J.A.; Duignan, P.J.; Nielsen, O.; Di Beneditto, A.P.; Siciliano, S.; Ramos, R.; Kant, W.; Peddemors, V.; Kinoshita, R.; Ross, P.S.; López-Fernandez, A.; Evans, K.; Crespo, E.; Barrett, T. (2001). An insight into the epidemiology of dolphin morbillivirus worldwide. Vet. Microbiol. 81(4): 287-304.
In: Veterinary Microbiology. Elsevier: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0378-1135, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 243235 [ OMA ]

Author keywords
    Dolphin morbillivirus; Cetaceans; Epidemiology; Serology; Conservation

Authors  Top 
  • Van Bressem, M.-F.
  • Van Waerebeek, K., more
  • Jepson, P.D.
  • Raga, J.A., more
  • Duignan, P.J.
  • Nielsen, O.
  • Di Beneditto, A.P.
  • Siciliano, S.
  • Ramos, R.
  • Kant, W.
  • Peddemors, V.
  • Kinoshita, R.
  • Ross, P.S.
  • López-Fernandez, A.
  • Evans, K.
  • Crespo, E.
  • Barrett, T.

    Serum samples from 288 cetaceans representing 25 species and originating from 11 different countries were collected between 1995 and 1999 and examined for the presence of dolphin morbillivirus (DMV)-specific antibodies by an indirect ELISA (iELISA) (N=267) or a plaque reduction assay (N=21). A total of 35 odontocetes were seropositive: three harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) and a common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) from the Northeastern (NE) Atlantic, a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) from Kent (England), three striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), two Risso’s dolphins (Grampus griseus) and a bottlenose dolphin from the Mediterranean Sea, one common dolphin from the Southwest (SW) Indian Ocean, three Fraser’s dolphins (Lagenodelphis hosei) from the SW Atlantic, 18 long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) and a bottlenose dolphin from the SW Pacific as well as a captive bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) originally from Taiwan. The presence of morbillivirus antibodies in 17 of these animals was further examined in other iELISAs and virus neutralization tests. Our results indicate that DMV infects cetaceans worldwide. This is the first report of DMV-seropositive animals from the SW Indian, SW Atlantic and West Pacific Oceans. Prevalence of DMV-seropositives was 85.7% in 21 pilot whales from the SW Pacific and both sexually mature and immature individuals were infected. This indicates that DMV is endemic in these animals. The same situation may occur among Fraser’s dolphins from the SW Atlantic. The prevalence of DMV-seropositives was 5.26% and 5.36% in 19 common dolphins and 56 harbour porpoise from the NE Atlantic, respectively, and 18.75% in 16 striped dolphins from the Mediterranean. Prevalence varied significantly with sexual maturity in harbour porpoises and striped dolphins; all DMV-seropositives being mature animals. The prevalence of seropositive harbour porpoise and striped dolphins appeared to have decreased since previous studies. These data suggest that DMV is not endemic within these populations, that they are losing their humoral immunity against the virus and that they may be vulnerable to new epidemics.

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