Infections with morbilliviruses have caused heavy losses among different populations of aquatic mammals during the last 5 years. Two different morbilliviruses were isolated from disease outbreaks among seals in Europe and Siberia: phocid distemper virus-1 (PDV-1) and phocid distemper virus-2 (PDV-2) respectively. PDV-1 was characterized as a newly identified morbillivirus, most related to canine distemper virus (CDV), whereas PDV-2 most probably is a strain of CDV. Morbilliviruses were also isolated from porpoises--porpoise morbillivirus (PMV)--and dolphins--dolphin morbillivirus (DMV)--which had stranded on the coasts of Europe. PMV and DMV proved to be closely related to, but distinct from 2 ruminant morbilliviruses, rinderpest virus (RPV) and peste-des-petits-ruminants virus (PPRV). Serological surveys carried out among pinniped and cetacean species in the seas of Europe and North America indicated that infections with these newly discovered morbilliviruses or closely related viruses commonly occur among aquatic mammal species.

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Annales de Recherches Veterinaires
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Visser, I., van Bressem, M. F., Barrett, T., & Osterhaus, A. (1993). Morbillivirus infections in aquatic mammals. Annales de Recherches Veterinaires, 24, 169–178. Retrieved from