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1.  A Systematic Health Assessment of Indian Ocean Bottlenose (Tursiops aduncus) and Indo-Pacific Humpback (Sousa plumbea) Dolphins Incidentally Caught in Shark Nets off the KwaZulu-Natal Coast, South Africa 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107038.
Coastal dolphins are regarded as indicators of changes in coastal marine ecosystem health that could impact humans utilizing the marine environment for food or recreation. Necropsy and histology examinations were performed on 35 Indian Ocean bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) and five Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa plumbea) incidentally caught in shark nets off the KwaZulu-Natal coast, South Africa, between 2010 and 2012. Parasitic lesions included pneumonia (85%), abdominal and thoracic serositis (75%), gastroenteritis (70%), hepatitis (62%), and endometritis (42%). Parasitic species identified were Halocercus sp. (lung), Crassicauda sp. (skeletal muscle) and Xenobalanus globicipitis (skin). Additional findings included bronchiolar epithelial mineralisation (83%), splenic filamentous tags (45%), non-suppurative meningoencephalitis (39%), and myocardial fibrosis (26%). No immunohistochemically positive reaction was present in lesions suggestive of dolphin morbillivirus, Toxoplasma gondii and Brucella spp. The first confirmed cases of lobomycosis and sarcocystosis in South African dolphins were documented. Most lesions were mild, and all animals were considered to be in good nutritional condition, based on blubber thickness and muscle mass. Apparent temporal changes in parasitic disease prevalence may indicate a change in the host/parasite interface. This study provided valuable baseline information on conditions affecting coastal dolphin populations in South Africa and, to our knowledge, constitutes the first reported systematic health assessment in incidentally caught dolphins in the Southern Hemisphere. Further research on temporal disease trends as well as disease pathophysiology and anthropogenic factors affecting these populations is needed.
PMCID: PMC4159300  PMID: 25203143
2.  Immunophenotyping of Inflammatory Cells Associated with Schmallenberg Virus Infection of the Central Nervous System of Ruminants 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e62939.
Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is a recently discovered Bunyavirus associated mainly with abortions, stillbirths and malformations of the skeletal and central nervous system (CNS) in newborn ruminants. In this study, a detailed immunophenotyping of the inflammatory cells of the CNS of affected animals was carried out in order to increase our understanding of SBV pathogenesis. A total of 82 SBV-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) positive neonatal ruminants (46 sheep lambs, 34 calves and 2 goat kids) were investigated for the presence of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. The study focused on 15 out of 82 animals (18.3%) showing inflammation in the CNS. All 15 neonates displayed lymphohistiocytic meningoencephalomyelitis affecting most frequently the mesencephalon and the parietal and temporal lobes. The majority of infiltrating cells were CD3-positive T cells, followed by CD79α-positive B cells and CD68-positive microglia/macrophages. Malformations like por- and hydranencephaly, frequently found in the temporal lobe, showed associated demyelination and axonal loss. SBV antigen was detected in 37 out of 82 (45.1%) neonatal brains by immunohistochemistry. In particular, SBV antigen was found in 93.3% (14 out of 15 ruminants) and 32.8% (22 out of 67 ruminants) of animals with and without encephalitis, respectively. Highest amounts of virus-protein expression levels were found in the temporal lobe. Our findings suggest that: (i) different brain regions display differential susceptibility to SBV infection; (ii) inflammatory cells in the CNS are found only in a minority of virus infected animals; (iii) malformations occur in association with and without inflammation in the CNS; and (iv) viral antigen is strongly associated with the presence of inflammation in naturally infected animals. Further studies are required to explore the cell tropism and pathogenesis of SBV infection in ruminants.
PMCID: PMC3646890  PMID: 23667545
3.  Schmallenberg Virus in Central Nervous System of Ruminants 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2013;19(1):154-155.
PMCID: PMC3557993  PMID: 23260872
Schmallenberg virus; in situ-hybridization; ruminants; malformation; brain; inflammation; central nervous system; CNS; viruses
4.  Health status of seabirds and coastal birds found at the German North Sea coast 
Systematic pathological investigations to assess the health status of seabirds and coastal birds in Germany were performed. The investigation was conducted to obtain data on possible causes of decline in seabird and coastal bird populations.
48 individuals of 11 different species of seabirds and coastal birds were collected by the stranding network along the entire German North Sea coast from 1997 to 2008, including mainly waders such as Eurasian oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus) and red knots (Calidris canutus) as well as seabirds such as northern fulmars (Fulmaris glacialis) and common scoters (Melanitta nigra).
For most birds (n = 31) found dead along the shore no obvious cause of death was evident, while 17 individuals were killed by collisions with lighthouses.
Overall, the nutritional status of the investigated birds was very poor, and the body mass in most cases was significantly lower compared to masses of living birds caught during the same periods of the year. This is partly linked to chronic parasitic or bacterial infections in different organs or to septicaemia. In some cases infections with zoonotic tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium spp. were found. Avian influenza was not found in any of the collected birds.
The presented data contribute to the evaluation of the health status of birds in the German North Sea. Moreover, they present an important tool for the assessment of potential pathogens with an impact on the health status of seabirds and coastal birds.
PMCID: PMC3441360  PMID: 22812640
Seabirds; Coastal birds; Pathology; North Sea; German waters
5.  Novel Lyssavirus in Natterer’s Bat, Germany 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2011;17(8):1519-1522.
A virus isolated from a Natterer’s bat (Myotis nattererii) in Germany was differentiated from other lyssaviruses on the basis of the reaction pattern of a panel of monoclonal antibodies. Phylogenetic analysis supported the assumption that the isolated virus, Bokeloh bat lyssavirus, may represent a new member of the genus Lyssavirus.
PMCID: PMC3381583  PMID: 21801640
rabies; bats; lyssavirus; Natterer’s bat; Myotis nattereri; sequence analysis; zoonosis; Germany; viruses; dispatch
6.  Clinical, genetic, and pathological features of male pseudohermaphroditism in dog 
Male pseudohermaphroditism is a sex differentiation disorder in which the gonads are testes and the genital ducts are incompletely masculinized. An 8 years old dog with normal male karyotype was referred for examination of external genitalia abnormalities. Adjacent to the vulva subcutaneous undescended testes were observed. The histology of the gonads revealed a Leydig and Sertoli cell neoplasia. The contemporaneous presence of testicular tissue, vulva, male karyotype were compatible with a male pseudohermaphrodite (MPH) condition.
PMCID: PMC3036612  PMID: 21255434
7.  Mycobacterium avium subsp. hominissuis Infection in 2 Pet Dogs, Germany 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2008;14(6):988-990.
PMCID: PMC2600286  PMID: 18507926
Canis familiaris; dog; mycobacteriosis; Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare complex; Mycobacterium avium subsp. Hominissuis; zoonoses; letter
8.  Distemper in a Dolphin 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2007;13(12):1959-1961.
PMCID: PMC2876748  PMID: 18258062
Dolphin; distemper; morbillivirus; encephalitis; letter
9.  Phocine Distemper in German Seals, 2002 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(4):723-725.
Approximately 21,700 seals died during a morbillivirus epidemic in northwestern Europe in 2002. Phocine distemper virus 1 was isolated from seals in German waters. The sequence of the P gene showed 97% identity with the Dutch virus isolated in 1988. There was 100% identity with the Dutch isolate from 2002 and a single nucleotide mismatch with the Danish isolate.
PMCID: PMC3323098  PMID: 15200869
harbor seal; phocine distemper virus; germany; RT-PCR; immunohistochemistry; serology

Results 1-9 (9)