A free-living adult female Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) found dead near Panama City, Florida (USA), had necrotizing and ulcerative tracheitis, suppurative and hemorrhagic pneumonia, and necrotizing myocarditis; fungal hyphae were present in these lesions. Additionally, lungs had multifocal proliferative interstitial pneumonia with occasional syncytial cells. Some syncytial cells and type II pneumocytes contained eosinophilic intranuclear or intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies, or both. Based on an immunoperoxidase technique, there was morbilliviral antigen within cytoplasm and nuclei of type II pneumocytes and syncytial cells; antigen also occurred in trachea, skin, liver, stomach, intestine, and uterus. Based on pathologic and immunocytochemical findings, the dolphin had morbillivirus-induced disease. This is the first report of morbilliviral disease in a marine mammal from the Gulf of Mexico.
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Vol. 30 • No. 4