Blood samples were collected from 1,042 marine mammals off the coast of Alaska (USA) and Russia during the period 1978 to 1994. Eight species of pinnipeds were represented. Sera were tested for presence of neutralizing antibodies to both the PB84 isolate of phocid herpesvirus-1 (PhHV-1) and the 7848/Han90 strain of phocid herpesvirus-2 (PhHV-2). Species-specific antibody prevalences ranged from 22% to 77% for PhHV-1 and 11% to 50% for PhHV-2. Species-specific antibody prevalences for PhHV-1 were greater than or equal to prevalences for PhHV-2. For both viruses and each host species, differences in antibody prevalences were not related to: (1) sex, (2) location of capture, or (3) year of collection. Antibody prevalence of PhHV-1 in walruses (Odobenus rosmarus) could be quantitatively predicted as a function of age. These two viruses have distinct biological properties and based on current data the epizootiology of the two viruses is different, as well. No evidence of herpesvirus-induced mortality has been detected in areas included in this survey. Based on results of this survey, neither PhHV-1 nor PhHV-2 are considered significant mortality factors in mammals which inhabit the marine environment off the coast of Alaska or Russia.

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Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Erasmus School of Economics

Zarnke, R. L., Harder, T., Vos, H., Ver Hoef, J., & Osterhaus, A. (1997). Serologic survey for phocid herpesvirus-1 and -2 in marine mammals from Alaska and Russia. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 33, 459–465. Retrieved from