We characterize Brucella infection in a wild southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) with osteolytic lesions similar to those reported in other marine mammals and humans. This otter stranded twice along the central California coast, US over a 1-yr period and was handled extensively at two wildlife rehabilitation facilities, undergoing multiple surgeries and months of postsurgical care. Ultimately the otter was euthanized due to severe, progressive neurologic disease. Necropsy and postmortem radiographs revealed chronic, severe osteoarthritis spanning the proximal interphalangeal joint of the left hind fifth digit. Numerous coccobacilli within the joint were strongly positive on Brucella immunohistochemical labelling, and Brucella sp. was isolated in pure culture from this lesion. Sparse Brucella-immunopositive bacteria were also observed in the cytoplasm of a pulmonary vascular monocyte, and multifocal granulomas were observed in the spinal cord and liver on histopathology. Findings from biochemical characterization, 16S ribosomal DNA, and bp26 gene sequencing of the bacterial isolate were identical to those from marine-origin brucellae isolated from cetaceans and phocids. Prior reports document the zoonotic potential of the marine brucellae. Isolation of Brucella sp. from a stranded sea otter highlights the importance of wearing personal protective equipment when handling sea otters and other marine mammals as part of wildlife conservation and rehabilitation efforts.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 53 • No. 2