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Herpes virus infection associated with interstitial nephritis in a beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris)

Manuel Arbelo1, Edwige N Bellière2, Eva Sierra1, Simona Sacchinni1, Fernando Esperón2, Marisa Andrada1, Miguel Rivero1, Josue Diaz-Delgado1 and Antonio Fernández1*

Author affiliations

1 Unit of Veterinary Histology and Pathology, Institute for Animal Health (IUSA), Veterinary School, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain

2 Research Centre for Animal Health (CISA - INIA), Madrid, Spain

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Citation and License

BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:243  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-243

Published: 13 December 2012



The capacity for herpesvirus to cause disease in cetaceans is unclear and may be varied depending on the different conditions of individuals and between different species. Kidney pathology and intralesional virus-associated infection have been rarely reported in cetaceans.


On April 2004, an old adult male Blainville’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) 420 cm long with a poor body condition was stranded on Tenerife Island. During necropsy, no gross lesions were observed in the kidneys. However, membranous glomerulonephritis, multifocal interstitial lymphoplasmacytic nephritis and acute multifocal necrotizing tubulointerstitial nephritis with intranuclear inclusion bodies was diagnosed by histological analysis. Tissue samples were submitted for bacteriological analysis and molecular viral screening.


A novel alpha herpesvirus associated with interstitial nephritis was identified in an old adult male Blainville's beaked whale (M. densirostris) with a poor body condition stranded in the Canary Islands. This report suggests that identification of herpesvirus infection could be used as a differential diagnosis for interstitial nephritis in cetaceans.

Beaked whale; Interstitial nephritis; Alpha herpes virus; Diagnosis