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Serological evidence of Brucella species infection in odontocetes from the south Pacific and the Mediterranean
  1. M-F. Van Bressem, DVM, PhD1,
  2. K. Van Waerebeek, PhD1,
  3. J. A Raga, PhD2,
  4. J. Godfroid, DVM3,
  5. S. D. Brew, BSc4 and
  6. A. P. MacMillan, BVSc, MSc, MRCVS4
  1. 1 Peruvian Centre for Cetacean Research (CEPEC), Jorge Chávez 302, Pucusana, Lima 20, Peru
  2. 2 Department of Animal Biology & Cavanilles Research Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia Dr Moliner 50,46100 Burjasot, Spain
  3. 3 Department of Bacteriology, Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre, 1180 Brussels, Belgium
  4. 4 FAO/WHO Centre for Brucellosis Reference and Research, Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Weybridge, Surrey KT15 3NB
  1. Dr Van Bressem's current address is Pasaje Palmira 196, San Isidro, Lima 27, Peru and also at Department of Vaccinology-Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, Sart Tilman, 4000 Liège, Belgium


Sera from 58 odontocetes taken in fisheries off Peru in 1993 to 1995 and from 24-cetaceans stranded along the Spanish coast of the Mediterranean in 1997 to 1999 were tested for the presence of Brucella species antibodies in competitive and indirect ELISAS (cELISA and iELISA). Among the animals from Peru, 21 of 27 (77.8 per cent) Lagenorhynchus obscurus, three of six Delphinus capensis, one of two inshore and two of three offshore Tursiops truncatus and five of 20 (25 per cent) Phocoena spinipinnis were positive in the cELISA. Brucella species antibodies were also observed in two of 16 (12.5 per cent) Stenella coeruleoalba and in one of two T truncatus from the Mediterranean. These data provide the first evidence for the presence of cetacean brucellae in the south Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

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