Morbillivirus in dolphins.
Since late July 1990, many striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) have died and been found stranded on the mediterranean coast of Spain. The deaths began on the coast of Valencia and has spread to the French and north African Mediterranean coasts. It is estimated that more than 400 have been found on the Spanish Mediterranean Coast. The main pathological findings are diffuse interstitial pneumonia and encephalitis. Using antibodies to phocine distemper virus, antigens of morbillivirus were detected in lungs, brain, lymph nodes, and biliary epithelium from 4 dolphins. Virus isolated from brain, lung and mediastinal lymph nodes was identified as morbillivirus. This is the first report of morbillivirus infection in dolphins. The disease may be a serious threat to the survival of the endangered species, Mediterranean monk seal.