Deborah Brownstein

Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Juneau, Alaska, United States

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Publications (3)5.65 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial infections are an important cause of sea otter (Enhydra lutris) mortality, and some of these infections may originate from terrestrial and anthropogenic sources. Antimicrobials are an important therapeutic tool for management of bacterial infections in stranded sea otters and for prevention of infection following invasive procedures in free-ranging otters. In this study, susceptibility to commonly used antimicrobials was determined for 126 isolates of 15 bacterial species or groups from necropsied, live-stranded injured or sick, and apparently healthy wild sea otters examined between 1998 and 2005. These isolates included both gram-positive and gram-negative strains of primary pathogens, opportunistic pathogens, and environmental flora, including bacterial species with proven zoonotic potential. Minimal evidence of antimicrobial resistance and no strains with unusual or clinically significant multiple-drug resistance patterns were identified. Collectively, these findings will help optimize selection of appropriate antimicrobials for treatment of bacterial diseases in sea otters and other marine species.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2011 · Journal of wildlife diseases
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    ABSTRACT: From 2002 to 2006, eight captive southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) at research and display institutions in California at risk of exposure to potentially lethal morbiliviruses were vaccinated with a commercial recombinant poxvirus vectored canine distemper (CD) vaccine. Serum-neutralizing (SN) antibody responses were followed for several years. The goal of this study was to determine whether 1) CD vaccination was a safe preventive medicine procedure for this species; 2) sea otters produce detectable SN antibodies in response to vaccination with this product; and 3) if this type of vaccination might be useful in response to a morbilivirus disease outbreak in free-ranging sea otters. Results indicate that a commercial recombinant vaccine is safe, provokes a measurable SN antibody response, and that vaccination may provide some protection from infection for free-ranging sea otters. It also resulted in the reevaluation of CD serology data that were previously published for free-ranging sea otters. Canine distemper, Enhydra lutris nereis, morbilivirus, sea otter, serology, vaccination.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2009 · Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Toxoplasma gondii-associated meningoencephalitis is a significant disease of California sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis), responsible for 16% of total mortality in fresh, beachcast carcasses. Toxoplasma gondii isolates were obtained from 35 California otters necropsied between 1998 and 2002. Based on multi-locus PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism and DNA sequencing at conserved genes (18S rDNA, ITS-1) and polymorphic genes (B1, SAG1, SAG3 and GRA6), two distinct genotypes were identified: type II and a novel genotype, here called type x, that possessed distinct alleles at three of the four polymorphic loci sequenced. The majority (60%) of sea otter T. gondii infections were of genotype x, with the remaining 40% being of genotype II. No type I or III genotypes were identified. Epidemiological methods were used to examine the relationship between isolated T. gondii genotype(s) and spatial and demographic risk factors, such as otter stranding location and sex, as well as specific outcomes related to pathogenicity, such as severity of brain inflammation on histopathology and T. gondii-associated mortality. Differences were identified with respect to T. gondii genotype and sea otter sex and stranding location along the California coast. Localised spatial clustering was detected for both type II (centred within Monterey Bay) and x (centred near Morro Bay)-infected otters. The Morro Bay cluster of type x-infected otters overlaps previously reported high-risk areas for sea otter infection and mortality due to T. gondii. Nine of the 12 otters that had T. gondii-associated meningoencephalitis as a primary cause of death were infected with type x parasites.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2004 · International Journal for Parasitology