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Publication Details

Lacaziosis and lacaziosis-like prevalence among wild, common bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus from the west coast to Florida, USA

Author(s): Burdett Hart, L.; D.S. Rotstein; R.S. Wells; K. Bassos-Hull; L.H. Schwacke

NCCOS Center: HML (

Publication Type: Journal Article

Journal Title: Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

Date of Publication: 2011

Reference Information: 95(1): 49-56

Keywords: Lacaziosis; Lobomycosis; Bottlenose dolphin; Tursiops truncatus; Sarasota Bay; Charlotte Harbor

Abstract: Lacaziosis (lobomycosis; Lacazia loboi) is a fungal skin disease that naturally occurs only in humans and dolphins. The first reported case of lacaziosis in a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) occurred in 1970 in Sarasota Bay, Florida, and subsequent photo-ID monitoring of the Sarasota Bay dolphin population has revealed persistence of the disease. The objectives of this study were to estimate lacaziosis prevalence in two bottlenose dolphin populations on the west coast of Florida (Sarasota Bay and Charlotte Harbor) and compare disease occurrence to other published estimates of lacaziosis in dolphin populations across the globe. Historic photographic records of dolphins captured and released for health assessment purposes (Sarasota Bay) and photo-ID studies (Charlotte Harbor) were screened for evidence of lesions consistent with lacaziosis. Health assessment data revealed a prevalence of lacaziosis in the Sarasota Bay bottlenose dolphin population between 2% and 3%, and analyses of photo-ID data provided a lacaziosis-like prevalence estimate of 2% for Charlotte Harbor dolphins. With the exception of lacaziosis prevalence estimates for dolphins inhabiting the Indian River Lagoon, (P=0.068; P=0.12), no statistically significant differences were seen among Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and other published estimates. Although lacaziosis is a rare disease among these dolphin populations, studies that assess disease burden among different populations can assist with the surveillance of this zoonotic pathogen.