Yeast infection in a beached southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) neonate

Mouton, Marnel ; Reeb, Desray ; Botha, Alfred ; Best, Peter (2009)

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A female southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) neonate was found stranded on the Western Cape coast of southern Africa. Skin samples were taken the same day from three different locations on the animal’s body and stored at 220 C. Isolation through repetitive culture of these skin sections yielded a single yeast species, Candida zeylanoides. Total genomic DNA also was isolated directly from skin samples. Polymerase chain reaction analysis of the internal transcribed spacer region of the fungal ribosomal gene cluster revealed the presence of Filobasidiella neoformans var. neoformans, the teleomorphic state of Cryptococcus neoformans. Fungal infections in cetaceans seem to be limited when compared to infections caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites. However, Candida species appear to be the most common type of fungal infection associated with cetaceans. To our knowledge this is the first report of a C. zeylanoides infection in a mysticete, as well as the first report of a dual infection involving two opportunistic pathogenic yeast species in a cetacean.

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