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Clin Diagn Virol. 1993 Jul;1(2):109-12.

Isolation of St. Louis encephalitis virus from a killer whale.

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Virology Department, American Type Culture Collection, Rockville, MD 20852, USA.


We report the isolation of St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) virus from a mature male killer whale (Orcinus orca). This represents the first isolation of SLE virus from a marine mammal. The animal presented with reduced appetite, rapidly became lethargic and subsequently died. Virus-induced CPE was observed in a dolphin cell line, SP-1K (ATCC CCL 78), inoculated with brain, kidney, and lung tissues obtained at necropsy. Electron microscopy of infected SP-1K cells revealed the presence of virions having morphology and size resembling members of the Flaviviridae. Final identification as SLE virus was made by neutralization and immunofluorescence staining tests.


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