Twelve killer whale (Orcinus orca) were hemmed in by ice floes, and nine died on the Aidomari coast in the Nemuro Strait in Rausu, Shiretoko, Hokkaido, Japan on 8 February 2005. Tissue samples collected from 8 whales were tested for Neospora caninum, Toxoplasma gondii, and Brucella species DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay. Gamma-globulin isolated from blood samples by ammonium sulfate precipitation was tested for antibodies to these pathogens by means of agglutination tests and immunoblotting. None of the 8 tissue samples had antibodies to the pathogens, when subjected to agglutination tests. In immunoblotting, one sample (sample No.5) showed antibody binding to N. caninum antigens. In the PCR assay, none of the samples was positive. Further study is necessary to examine the prevalence of the pathogens in marine mammals inhabiting this area.
2006 by the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science