A striped dolphin stranded in Tarragona on 7 of September was confirmed to have morbillivirus disease. It was a juvenile female (180 cm long, 47 Kg). The dolphin showed abnormal swimming, and bradypnoea (1 breath/min). It died few hours after stranding.
A necropsy was performed at the Veterinary School of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. The dolphin had broncho-interstitial pneumonia and lymphoid cell depletion in lymph nodes, with presence of syncytial cells and viral inclusions (both in nucleus as well as in cytoplasm), and mild, multifocal encephalitis.
Morbillivirus infection was detected by immunohistochemistry in lung, brain and lymphoid organs. Therefore, a systemic CeMV disease was diagnosed, which implies circulation of CeMV in the striped dolphin population, after an epidemiological silence of 9 years. For the moment, an increase of the basal mortality of this species has not been noted in the area.
This diagnose has been performed under the framework of the Catalonian Government’s program for surveillance of marine mammal mortality.