Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New virus discovered in stranded dolphin

Date:
July 10, 2013
Source:
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Summary:
Researchers have identified a new virus associated with the death of a short-beaked dolphin found stranded on a beach in San Diego. It is the first time that a virus belonging to the polyomavirus family has been found in a dolphin.

Researchers at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and colleagues have identified a new virus associated with the death of a short-beaked dolphin found stranded on a beach in San Diego. It is the first time that a virus belonging to the polyomavirus family has been found in a dolphin. Results appear online in the journal PLOS ONE.

Polyomavirus is known to cause disease in birds, but in mammals it is usually mild or subclinical, explains lead author Simon Anthony, PhD, a researcher in the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Mailman School. "It is therefore interesting that this particular polyomavirus appears to be what killed this dolphin. It's no immediate cause for alarm, but it's an important data point in understanding this family of viruses and the diseases they cause."

This discovery will help prepare scientists for future disease outbreaks and could even be useful in solving past unsolved cases. "There are many cases of disease in animals that we never have solved," says Dr. Anthony. When we make a new discovery like this, it allows us to ask, Have we seen it before? Will we see it again?"

The dolphin, a female calf, was found dead in October 2010. Judy St. Leger, DVM, of SeaWorld in San Diego, a co-author of the study, conducted a necropsy that identified the cause of death as tracheal bronchitis with signs of an infection, which an electron microscope revealed to be of possible viral origin. To identify the culprit, she sent a biological sample to the Center for Infection and Immunity in New York, where Dr. Anthony used high throughput DNA sequencing and a number of other techniques to identify the novel polyomavirus.

Genetic analysis showed that the polyomavirus in the San Diego dolphin was distinct from other members of the virus family. Drs. Anthony and St. Leger postulate that this might be one of many such viruses that exist in dolphins and other marine mammals. They are now searching for more examples of polyomavirus in dolphins. "It's possible that many dolphins carry this virus or other polyomaviruses without significant problems. Or perhaps it's like the common cold where they get sick for a short while and recover," says Dr. St. Leger.

Dr. Anthony stresses that without more work to study the diversity and prevalence of polyomaviruses in dolphins and other marine mammals, it is difficult to know what the specific threat of this new virus is. ''We don't even know if this is even a dolphin virus. It could also represent a spillover event from another species.'' While unknown in this case, the possibility intrigues him. "Several important outbreaks in the past have resulted from viruses jumping into new hosts,'' he says, citing another Anthony-St. Leger collaboration where they documented a case of bird flu in a seal population in New England (findings were published in mBio).

But for now, the significance of the discovery of a polyomavirus in a dolphin is that it appears to be the cause of death of this animal, and as Dr. Anthony notes, "One of our main goals is to protect the health of wildlife."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Simon J. Anthony, Judy A. St. Leger, Isamara Navarrete-Macias, Erica Nilson, Maria Sanchez-Leon, Eliza Liang, Tracie Seimon, Komal Jain, William Karesh, Peter Daszak, Thomas Briese, W. Ian Lipkin. Identification of a Novel Cetacean Polyomavirus from a Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis) with Tracheobronchitis. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (7): e68239 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068239

Cite This Page:

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "New virus discovered in stranded dolphin." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710182947.htm>.
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. (2013, July 10). New virus discovered in stranded dolphin. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710182947.htm
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "New virus discovered in stranded dolphin." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710182947.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2014) A 9-year-old Michigan boy was exploring a creek when he came across a 10,000-year-old tooth from a prehistoric mastodon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins