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Rev Sci Tech. 2013 Apr;32(1):89-103.

Wildlife reservoirs of brucellosis: Brucella in aquatic environments.

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Sección Microbiologia Medico Veterinaria, Departamento de Diagnóstico Veterinario. Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal, Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia, Heredia, Costa Rica.


Neurobrucellosis and osteomyelitis are common pathologies of humans and cetaceans infected with Brucella ceti or B. pinnipedialis. Currently, 53 species of marine mammal are known to show seropositivity for brucellae, and B. ceti or B. pinnipedialis have been isolated or identified in polymerase chain reaction assays in 18 of these species. Brucellae have also been isolated from fish and identified in lungworm parasites of pinnipeds and cetaceans. Despite these circumstances, there are no local or global requirements for monitoring brucellosis in marine mammals handled for multiple purposes such as capture, therapy, rehabilitation, investigation, slaughter or consumption. Since brucellosis is a zoonosis and may be a source of infection to other animals, international standards for Brucella in potentially infected marine mammals are necessary.

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