First description of a Gammaherpesvirus in a common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

Danny Morick, Nadav Davidovich, Ziv Zemah-Shamir, Yael Kroin, Eyal Bigal, Eva Sierra, Simone Segura-Göthlin, Natascha Wosnick, Rachel Ann Hauser-Davis, Dan Tchernov, Aviad P. Scheinin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In September 2020, a male common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) was found dead on a beach near Bat-Yam, Israel. A small, raised, well circumscribed penile lesion (i.e., mass) was identified and removed for histology and molecular characterizations. By histology, the penile mass presented focal keratinization of the squamous epithelium and a mild ballooning of acanthocytes in lower epithelium levels, as well as features compatible with viral plaques, and tested positive for a gammaherpesvirus through molecular characterization analyses. Tissue samples from the lungs, liver, and spleen, however, tested negative for herpesvirus infection. The gammaherpesvirus detected herein is similar to other isolates found in several areas worldwide in different cetacean species. This is the first reported case of gammaherpesvirus infection in dolphins from the eastern Mediterranean Sea, indicative of the need for long-term assessments to create viral infections databases in cetaceans, especially in a climate change context, which is likely to intensify infectious disease outbreaks in marine mammals in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2253-2258
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Research Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • Delphinus delphis
  • Gammaherpesvirus
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Penile mass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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