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Epizootic of dolphin morbillivirus on the Catalonian Mediterranean coast in 2007
  1. S. Soto, DVM, DECVP1,
  2. R. González, DVM2,
  3. F. Alegre, DVM3,
  4. B. González, DVM3,
  5. P. Medina, DVM3,
  6. J. A. Raga, PhD4,
  7. A. Marco, DVM, PhD, DECVP1 and
  8. M. Domingo, DVM, PhD, DECVP1
  1. Departament de Sanitat i d'Anatomia Animals, Facultat de Veterinària, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain
  2. Departamento de Patología, Escuela de Medicina Veterinaria, Universidad Nacional Autónoma, 3000 Heredia, Costa Rica
  3. Fundació per la Conservació y Recuperació d'Animals Marins, Carretera de la Platja 28-30, 08820 El Prat de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
  4. Institut Cavanilles de Biodiversitat i Biologia Evolutiva, Universitat de València, Catedrático José Beltrán 2, 46980 Paterna (Valencia), Spain
  1. E-mail for correspondence sarasotomar{at}
  • Dr Domingo is also at the Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA), Campus Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain

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BETWEEN 1990 and 1992, thousands of striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) stranded along the Mediterranean coast due to a newly described virus, the dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) (Domingo and others 1990, 1992). DMV is one of the several morbilliviruses that have killed marine mammals worldwide since 1987 (Di Guardo and others 2005). A new DMV epizootic has been recently confirmed from the Mediterranean Spanish and French coasts during 2007 to 2008 (Fernández and others 2008, Raga and others 2008, Keck and others 2010). This short communication describes the pathological findings associated with DMV infection and secondary infections, observed during this epizootic on the Mediterranean coast of Catalonia (north-east Spain). This report also provides further evidence of the absence of DMV circulation on the Catalonian Mediterranean coast during the interepizootic period.

From July 2007 to December 2007, 40 cetaceans were found stranded along the Catalonian Mediterranean coast: 36 striped dolphins, two Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus) and two bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Ten well-preserved animals (nine striped dolphins and one Risso's dolphin) were submitted to the authors' laboratory for postmortem examination. A complete set of organs was collected, fixed in 10 per cent neutral buffered formalin and routinely processed for histopathology. Immunohistochemistry was performed on selected samples of lung, lymphoid and brain tissues, as described previously by Raga and others (2008). A monoclonal antibody (mAb) raised against the nucleoprotein of canine distemper virus (CDV) (NP 050505; …

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