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1 July 2016 Cryptococcus gattii Type VGIIa Infection in Harbor Seals ( Phoca vitulina) in British Columbia, Canada
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Abstract

Cryptococcosis has been reported in marine mammals in the northeastern Pacific with increasing frequency in the last 15 yr. Although a variety of cetaceans have been diagnosed with cryptococcosis, Cryptococcus gattii has not been reported in pinnipeds. We document C. gattii VGIIa in a harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) pup and in an unrelated adult. Both animals were presented to Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre (VAMMRC) with generalized weakness, dehydration, respiratory compromise, minimally responsive mentation, and suboptimal body condition. Necropsy and histopathology findings were consistent in both animals and featured generalized lymphadenopathy, bronchopneumonia, and meningoencephalitis with intralesional yeast and fungemia. Cryptococcal serum antigen titers were ≥1,024 in both animals. Fungal culture of lung and lymph nodes confirmed C. gattii. Exposure was likely via inhalation prior to presentation to VAMMRC, and C. gattii infection was the proximate cause of death. This report expands the range of susceptible host species as C. gattii continues to emerge as a pathogen of concern in marine mammals in the northeastern Pacific.

Justin F. Rosenberg, Martin Haulena, Linda M. N. Hoang, Muhammad Morshed, Erin Zabek, and Stephen A. Raverty " Cryptococcus gattii Type VGIIa Infection in Harbor Seals ( Phoca vitulina) in British Columbia, Canada," Journal of Wildlife Diseases 52(3), 677-681, (1 July 2016). https://doi.org/10.7589/2015-11-299
Received: 4 November 2015; Accepted: 1 February 2016; Published: 1 July 2016
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