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1 October 2017 Brucella Infection in Asian Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris lutris) on Bering Island, Russia
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Infection with Brucella spp., long known as a cause of abortion, infertility, and reproductive loss in domestic livestock, has increasingly been documented in marine mammals over the past two decades. We report molecular evidence of Brucella infection in Asian sea otters (Enhydra lutris lutris). Brucella DNA was detected in 3 of 78 (4%) rectal swab samples collected between 2004 and 2006 on Bering Island, Russia. These 78 animals had previously been documented to have a Brucella seroprevalence of 28%, markedly higher than the prevalence documented in sea otters (Enhydra lutris) in North America. All of the DNA sequences amplified were identical to one or more previously isolated Brucella spp. including strains from both terrestrial and marine hosts. Phylogenetic analysis of this sequence suggested that one animal was shedding Brucella spp. DNA with a sequence matching a Brucella abortus strain, whereas two animals yielded a sequence matching a group of strains including isolates classified as Brucella pinnipedialis and Brucella melitensis. Our results highlight the diversity of Brucella spp. within a single sea otter population.

© Wildlife Disease Association 2017
Tristan L. Burgess, Christine Kreuder Johnson, Alexander Burdin, Verena A. Gill, Angela M. Doroff, Pamela Tuomi, Woutrina A. Smith, and Tracey Goldstein "Brucella Infection in Asian Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris lutris) on Bering Island, Russia," Journal of Wildlife Diseases 53(4), 864-868, (1 October 2017).
Received: 24 August 2016; Accepted: 1 June 2017; Published: 1 October 2017

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