Cetacean Morbillivirus Infection in a Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) from Brazil. Academic Article uri icon


  • We provide pathological, immunohistochemical and molecular evidence of cetacean morbillivirus (CeMV) infection in a live-stranded adult female killer whale (Orcinus orca), which stranded alive in Esprito Santo State, Brazil, in 2014. Although attempts were made to release the animal, it stranded again and died. The main pathological findings were severe pulmonary oedema, pleural petechiation, multifocal, lymphoplasmacytic meningoencephalitis and leptomeningomyelitis with perivascular cuffing and gliosis, chronic lymphocytic bronchointerstitial pneumonia and multicentric lymph node and splenic lymphoid depletion. Other pathological findings were associated with the 'live-stranding stress response'. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed multifocal morbilliviral antigen in neurons and astrocytes, and in pneumocytes, histiocytes and leukocytes in the lung. CeMV was detected by a novel reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction method in the brain and kidney. Phylogenetic analysis of part of the morbillivirus phosphoprotein gene indicates that the virus is similar to the Guiana dolphin (Sotalia guianensis) morbillivirus strain, known to affect cetaceans along the coast of Brazil. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of morbillivirus disease in killer whales.

published proceedings

  • J Comp Pathol

altmetric score

  • 5.55

author list (cited authors)

  • Groch, K. R., Jerdy, H., Marcondes, M. C., Barbosa, L. A., Ramos, H. G., Pavanelli, L., ... Daz-Delgado, J.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Groch, Kátia R||Jerdy, Hassan||Marcondes, Milton Cc||Barbosa, Lupércio A||Ramos, Hernani Gc||Pavanelli, Larissa||Fornells, Luz Alba Mg||Silva, Marina B||Souza, Giliane S||Kanashiro, Milton M||Bussad, Pollyana||Silveira, Leonardo S||Costa-Silva, Samira||Wiener, Dominique J||Travassos, Carlos Epf||Catão-Dias, José L||Díaz-Delgado, Josué

publication date

  • November 2020