Fatal bacterial septicemia in a bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus caused by Streptococcus iniae.

Research paper by Zhiqi Z Song, Ruichao R Yue, Yanming Y Sun, Chunfa C Liu, Sher Hayat SH Khan, Chaosi C Li, Ying Y Zhao, Xiangmei X Zhou, Lifeng L Yang, Deming D Zhao

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: Diseases of aquatic organisms


A captive 8 yr old male bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus succumbed to septicemia with multisystemic inflammation including suppurative enteritis, encephalitis, and pneumonia with chronic pancreatitis. A pure culture of beta-hemolytic, catalase- and oxidase-negative, Gram-positive cocci was isolated from the hilar lymph nodes and pancreas. The isolate was identified by 16S rDNA sequencing as Streptococcus iniae. Histological examination of the digestive system revealed a mixed infection of both bacteria and fungus. Recognized as a pathogen in fish, dolphins, and humans, this is the first report of S. iniae in a dolphin in mainland China. As the number of managed animals in oceanariums is increasing, so is the frequency of contact with fish used as food for marine mammals and humans, highlighting the importance of education and appropriate personal protective protocols to minimize the risk of transmission. An understanding of marine mammal infectious disease organisms is essential to ensuring the health of marine mammals and humans coming into contact with such animals and their food. This study illustrates a systematic clinical, microbiological, and pathological investigation into a septicemic bottlenose dolphin infected with S. iniae. Our findings provide useful information for those involved in the diagnosis and control of infectious diseases in marine mammals and offer insight into an important zoonotic pathogen.