Abstract

The parasitic fauna of cetaceans is an important tool for ecological studies, including analyses on the causes of death. Halocercus brasiliensis is a nematode frequently found in the bronchi and bronchioles of some cetaceans, and it is commonly associated with focal inflammation of the respiratory tract leading to bacterial pneumonia and septicemia and, sometimes, to death. The objective of this study was to report infections by H. brasiliensis in the respiratory tract of Delphinidae stranded on the northern seaside of Bahia, Sergipe, and south of Alagoas, all states in the northeast region of Brazil. A total of 30 individuals, 1 Feresa attenuate (pygmy killer whale), 9 Stenella clymene (Clymene dolphin), and 20 Sotalia guianensis (Guiana dolphin) were studied. In 16 of them, the presence of H. brasiliensis was observed with a mean intensity of 3.5 ± 0.6 (range 1–9) in the hosts. Macroscopically, parasitic calcified nodules, lung congestion, edema, and emphysema were observed. Histopathological examination showed interstitial and granulomatous pneumonia with multifocal infiltrates, discrete to moderate edema, congestion, diffuse hemorrhage, and foci of calcification. We conclude that parasitic pneumonia in the sampled individuals may have directly contributed to stranding and death of the animals.

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