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Research and characterization of Morbiliviruses of cetaceans in Brazil

Grant number: 15/00735-6
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: September 01, 2015 - February 28, 2018
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Veterinary Medicine - Animal Pathology
Principal Investigator:Jose Luiz Catao Dias
Grantee:Jose Luiz Catao Dias
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia (FMVZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Kátia Regina Groch


The genus Morbillivirus (Paramyxoviridae family, Mononegavirales order) shows single-stranded RNA and consists of antigenically related species, including the human measles, canine distemper, rinderpest and peste des petits ruminants, among others. They are characterized by acute infection, high transmissibility and high mortality rates. Since 1988, when Morbillivirus infection was discovered in marine animals, more than 10 epizootic outbreaks with high mortality rates affected pinnipeds and cetaceans in the northern hemisphere, constituting a major natural threat to marine mammals. No one knows exactly what leads to the occurrence of these outbreaks. The main lesions associated with infection in marine mammals include severe bronchointerstitial pneumonia, non-suppurative meningoencephalitis and immunosuppression, favoring the occurrence of opportunistic viral infections (family Herpesviridae), parasite (Toxoplasma gondii), bacteria (Brucella spp.) and fungal infections (Aspergillus spp.). Although serological investigations indicate the presence of the virus in all major oceans, just recently fatal cases were recorded in the southern hemisphere, two in Australia and one in Brazil. The fatal case identified in a estuarine dolphin (Sotalia guianensis) in Brazil indicates that the virus is present on our coast, and raises concerns about the role of the agent in cases of mortality and the possibility of occurrence of epizootics. A comparison of partial sequences from a conserved region of the virus (P gene) showed that the variant identified in Brazil phylogenetically differs from the variants affecting cetaceans in the northern hemisphere, suggesting that it represents a new strain or a new lineage of cetacean morbillivirus. The overall objectives of this project, which has the collaboration of several institutions, are to investigate the occurrence and characterize the morbillivirus infection in cetaceans from the Brazilian coast. Detection of the virus will be carried out by means of immunohistochemical staining using antibody against canine distemper virus, which cross-react with cetacean morbillivirus, as well as by RT-PCR using primers which amplify conserved regions of the viral genome. Markers of different regions of the viral genome will be used for the molecular characterization of a new variant of morbillivirus recently detected in Brazil. By means of histopathological techniques we will characterize microscopic changes and infection patterns of positively infected hosts. The data obtained here will elucidate phylogenetic aspects of the Morbillivirus present in our coast and infer on pathological and epidemiological aspects of cetaceans morbiliviruses in Brazil. It is important to mention that this proposal will also subsidize the implementation of the post-doctoral project of the associated researcher (KRG, Process FAPESP 2014/249322). At the same time, materials and data obtained through partnership with various institutions along the Brazilian coast of may contribute to several current and future investigations on cetaceans health, which have been developed since more than a decade at the Laboratory of Wildlife Comparative Pathology (LAPCOM/FMVZ/USP). (AU)

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Scientific publications (16)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
GROCH, KATIA R.; DIAZ-DELGADO, JOSUE; SANTOS-NETO, ELITIERI B.; IKEDA, JOANA M. P.; CARVALHO, RAFAEL R.; OLIVEIRA, RAISSA B.; GUARI, EMI B.; FLACH, LEONARDO; SIERRA, EVA; GODINHO, ANA I.; et al. The Pathology of Cetacean Morbillivirus Infection and Comorbidities in Guiana Dolphins During an Unusual Mortality Event (Brazil, 2017-2018). VETERINARY PATHOLOGY, v. 57, n. 6, p. 845-857, . (17/24335-2, 15/05043-5, 15/00735-6, 14/24932-2, 17/02223-8)
GROCH, KATIA R.; BLAZQUEZ, DIANA N. H.; MARCONDES, MILTON C. C.; SANTOS, JOANA; COLOSIO, ADRIANA; DELGADO, JOSUE DIAZ; CATAO-DIAS, JOSE L.. Cetacean morbillivirus in Humpback whales' exhaled breath. TRANSBOUNDARY AND EMERGING DISEASES, . (19/11053-4, 15/00735-6, 17/02223-8, 15/05043-5)
GROCH, KATIA R.; CATAO-DIAS, JOSE L.; GROCH, KARINA R.; KOLESNIKOVAS, CRISTIANE K. M.; DE CASTILHO, V, PEDRO; MOREIRA, LUCIANA M. P.; BARROS, CECIL R. M. B.; MORAIS DE MEDEIROS, CAMILA R.; RENAULT-BRAGA, EDUARDO P.; SANSONE, MARCELO; et al. Pathologic findings and causes of death in southern right whales Eubalaena australis, Brazil. DISEASES OF AQUATIC ORGANISMS, v. 137, n. 1, p. 23-31, . (14/24932-2, 17/02223-8, 15/00735-6)
SANCHEZ-SARMIENTO, ANGELICA M.; CARVALHO, VITOR L.; DIAZ-DELGADO, JOSUE; RESSIO, RODRIGO A.; FERNANDES, NATALIA C. C. A.; GUERRA, JULIANA M.; SACRISTAN, CARLOS; GROCH, KATIA R.; SILVESTRE-PEREZ, NATALIA; FERREIRA-MACHADO, EDUARDO; et al. Molecular, serological, pathological, immunohistochemical and microbiological investigation of Brucella spp. in marine mammals of Brazil reveals new cetacean hosts. TRANSBOUNDARY AND EMERGING DISEASES, v. 66, n. 4, p. 1674-1692, . (14/24932-2, 15/00735-6)
GROCH, KATIA R.; BLAZQUEZ, DIANA N. H.; MARCONDES, MILTON C. C.; SANTOS, JOANA; COLOSIO, ADRIANA; DELGADO, JOSUE DIAZ; CATAO-DIAS, JOSE L.. Cetacean morbillivirus in Humpback whales' exhaled breath. TRANSBOUNDARY AND EMERGING DISEASES, v. 68, n. 4, p. 1736-1743, . (15/00735-6, 19/11053-4, 17/02223-8, 15/05043-5)
CARVALHO, V. L.; GROCH, K. R.; CATAO-DIAS, J. L.; MEIRELLES, A. C. O.; SILVA, C. P. N.; MONTEIRO, A. N. B.; DIAZ-DELGADO, J.. Cerebral and cardiac congenital malformations in neonatal West Indian manatees (Trichechus manatus). Journal of Comparative Pathology, v. 166, p. 29-34, . (14/24932-2, 17/02223-8, 15/00735-6)
DIAZ-DELGADO, JOSUE; GROCH, KATIA R.; SIERRA, EVA; SACCHINI, SIMONA; ZUCCA, DANIELE; QUESADA-CANALES, OSCAR; ARBELO, MANUEL; FERNANDEZ, ANTONIO; SANTOS, ELITIERI; IKEDA, JOANA; et al. Comparative histopathologic and viral immunohistochemical studies on CeMV infection among Western Mediterranean, Northeast-Central, and Southwestern Atlantic cetaceans. PLoS One, v. 14, n. 3, . (15/00735-6, 15/05043-5, 17/02223-8, 17/24335-2, 14/24932-2)
DIAZ-DELGADO, J.; GOMES-BORGES, J. C.; MONTEIRO SILVEIRA, A.; EINHARDT-VERGARA, J.; GROCH, K. R.; CIRQUEIRA, C. S.; SANSONE, M.; GATTAMORTA, M. A.; MATUSHIMA, E. R.; CATAO-DIAS, J. L.. Primary Multicentric Pulmonary Low-grade Fibromyxoid Sarcoma and Chelonid Alphaherpesvirus 5 Detection in a Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). Journal of Comparative Pathology, v. 168, p. 1-7, . (14/24932-2, 17/02223-8, 15/00735-6)
GROCH, KATIA REGINA; DIAZ-DELGADO, JOSUE; MARCONDES, MILTON C. C.; COLOSIO, ADRIANA CASTALDO; SANTOS-NETO, ELITIERI B.; CARVALHO, VITOR LUZ; BOOS, GISELA SILVA; OLIVEIRA DE MEIRELLES, ANA CAROLINA; DA CUNHA RAMOSE, HERNANI GOMES; GUIMARAES, JULIANA PLACIDO; et al. Pathology and causes of death in stranded humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) from Brazil. PLoS One, v. 13, n. 5, . (15/05043-5, 15/00735-6, 12/00021-5, 11/08357-0, 14/24932-2)
GROCH, KATIA R.; SANTOS-NETO, ELITIERI B.; DIAZ-DELGADO, JOSUE; IKEDA, JOANA M. P.; CARVALHO, RAFAEL R.; OLIVEIRA, RAISSA B.; GUARI, EMI B.; BISI, TATIANA L.; AZEVEDO, ALEXANDRE F.; LAILSON-BRITO, JOSE; et al. Guiana Dolphin Unusual Mortality Event and Link to Cetacean Morbillivirus, Brazil. Emerging Infectious Diseases, v. 24, n. 7, p. 1349-1354, . (14/24932-2, 15/00735-6, 17/02223-8)
DIAZ-DELGADO, J.; RESSIO, R.; GROCH, K. R.; CATAO-DIAS, J. L.. Immunohistochemical investigation of the cross-reactivity of selected cell markers in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded lymphoid tissues of Franciscana (Pontoporia blainvillei). VETERINARY IMMUNOLOGY AND IMMUNOPATHOLOGY, v. 200, p. 52-58, . (14/24932-2, 15/00735-6, 17/02223-8)
DIAZ-DELGADO, J.; GROCH, K. R.; WIEGAND, M. W.; SECCHI, E. R.; RESSIO, R.; NATALIA, F. C. C.; CATAO-DIAS, J. L.. Choroid Plexus Cyst in a Neonatal Burmeister's Porpoise (Phocoena spinipinnis). Journal of Comparative Pathology, v. 157, n. 1, p. 51-56, . (14/24932-2, 15/00735-6, 15/05043-5)
GROCH, KATIA R.; GROCH, KARINA R.; KOLESNIKOVAS, CRISTIANE K. M.; DE CASTILHO, PEDRO V.; MOREIRA, LUCIANA M. P.; BARROS, CECIL R. M. B.; MORAIS, CAMILA R.; RENAULT-BRAGA, EDUARDO P.; SIERRA, EVA; FERNANDEZ, ANTONIO; et al. Cetacean morbillivirus in Southern Right Whales, Brazil. TRANSBOUNDARY AND EMERGING DISEASES, v. 66, n. 1, p. 606-610, . (17/02223-8, 15/00735-6, 14/24932-2, 15/05043-5)
GROCH, KATIA R.; DIAZ-DELGADO, JOSUE; SACRISTAN, CARLOS; OLIVEIRA, DENYIELIM E.; SOUZA, GABRIELA; SANCHEZ-SARMIENTO, ANGELICA M.; COSTA-SILVA, SAMIRA; MARIGO, JULIANA; CASTILHO, PEDRO V.; CREMER, MARTA J.; et al. Pulmonary and systemic fungal infections in an Atlantic spotted dolphin and a Bryde's whale, Brazil. DISEASES OF AQUATIC ORGANISMS, v. 128, n. 1, p. 73-79, . (14/24932-2, 15/00735-6, 17/02223-8)
GROCH, KATIA R.; TANIWAKI, SUELI AKEMI; FAVERO, CINTIA MARIA; BRANDAO, PAULO EDUARDO; DIAZ-DELGADO, JOSUE; FERNANDEZ, ANTONIO; CATAO-DIAS, JOSE LUIZ; SIERRA, EVA. A novel real-time PCR to detect Cetacean morbillivirus in Atlantic cetaceans. Journal of Virological Methods, v. 285, p. 6-pg., . (15/05043-5, 17/02223-8, 14/24932-2, 15/00735-6)
GROCH, KATIA R.; JERDY, HASSAN; MARCONDES, MILTON C. C.; BARBOSA, LUPERCIO A.; RAMOS, HERNANI G. C.; PAVANELLI, LARISSA; FORNELLS, LUZ ALBA M. G.; SILVA, MARINA B.; SOUZA, GILIANE S.; KANASHIRO, MILTON M.; et al. Cetacean Morbillivirus Infection in a Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) from Brazil. Journal of Comparative Pathology, v. 181, p. 26-32, . (15/00735-6, 15/05043-5, 17/02223-8, 14/24932-2)

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