Morbilliviruses in aquatic mammals: report on round table discussion

T. Barrett*, M. Blixenkrone-Møller, G. Di Guardo, M. Domingo, P. Duignan, A. Hall, L. Mamaev, A. D.M.E. Osterhaus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


A workshop was organised to ascertain the current situation with regard to morbillivirus infections in aquatic animals. The great interest generated by the discovery of these new virus infections in 1988 has to some extent abated but much high quality research has continued in this field as the workshop showed. There is some serological evidence that the viruses have continued to circulate in most areas since the initial epizootics. As to their origin, it appers that the most likely source of the European seal morbillivirus (PDV-1) is the North Atlantic and Arctic seal populations. As to the origin of the Mediterranean dolphin morbillivirus and the morbilliviruses isolated from porpoises, there is serological evidence that the viruses are widespread in many cetacean species in the Atlantic and 93% of long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) which mass stranded between 1982 and 1993 were morbillivirus seropositive. The epizootic in freshwater seals in Lake Baikal was unrelated to events in the european marine mammal populations. The virus which infected these animals (PDV-2) is indistinguishable from canine distemper field strains. Serological and molecular biological studies provided evidence for the presence of the virus in the seals, at least as late as the Summer of 1992 when the animals were last sampled.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-265
Number of pages5
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number2-4
Publication statusPublished - May 1995


  • Cetacean morbilliviruses
  • Epizootiology
  • Pinniped morbilliviruses


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