Serologic response in bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus infected with Brucella sp. using a dolphin-specific indirect ELISA.

Academic Article


  • Marine-origin Brucella infections and serologic evidence of exposure have been documented in multiple cetacean species. A dolphin-specific indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed to screen bottlenose dolphin sera for anti-Brucella antibodies. A total of 131 serum samples collected over a 2 to 18 yr period from 6 bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus with confirmed Brucella infections were analyzed for the presence and magnitude of antibody titers against marine-origin Brucella to compare individual antibody responses to various disease manifestations. Additionally, an epidemiologic serologic survey of a managed population of 64 bottlenose dolphins was performed to evaluate for the presence of antibodies and to determine whether there were any clinical pathology predictors for exposure or infection. The serologic results revealed that the dolphins with Brucella-associated abortions were seronegative for 7 to 18 yr until after the abortion and maintained positive titers for several years, with 2 of 3 animals returning to seronegative status. In contrast, the dolphins with Brucella-associated pulmonary or bone lesions maintained persistent positive titers for 2 to 18 yr. The population serosurvey revealed no significant differences in antibody levels among males and females, and dolphins between the ages of 17 and 25 yr were 6.8 times more likely to be Brucella antibody positive compared to those that were younger or older. Seropositive dolphins did not have significant inflammation compared to seronegative dolphins but were more likely to have higher levels of aspartate aminotransferase and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase. Among 16 dolphins that tested seropositive, 13 (81.3%) had previously been seropositive for at least 3 to 5 yr.
  • Authors

  • Meegan, Jenny
  • Dunn, J Lawrence
  • Venn-Watson, Stephanie K
  • Smith, Cynthia R
  • Sidor, Inga
  • Jensen, Eric D
  • Van Bonn, William G
  • Pugh, Roberta
  • Ficht, Thomas
  • Adams, L Garry
  • Nielsen, Klaus
  • Romano, Tracy A
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • December 3, 2012
  • Published In


  • Animals
  • Bottle-Nosed Dolphin
  • Brucellosis
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Male
  • Serologic Tests
  • Species Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 23209080
  • Start Page

  • 73
  • End Page

  • 85
  • Volume

  • 102
  • Issue

  • 1