Predicting recurrent PDV epizootics in European harbour seals (Phoca vitulina)
Keywords:harbour seals, epizootics, Phocine Distemper Virus
AbstractPhocine Distemper Virus (PDV) caused mass mortality in European harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) in 1988 and in 2002. Both epizootics likely originated from refugia in Arctic seals, where data indicate PDV hops among populations and species. The metapopulation structure of host populations is suggested to be the reason why PDV is preserved among Arctic seals, since the high rate of spread of PDV would require much larger panmictic populations to maintain an infection. The pattern of sudden outbreaks of PDVis also seen in grey seals (Halichoerus grypus), the only to date identified species that could act as a vector between Arctic and North Sea seal populations. Harbour seal populations along mainland Europe were below critical herd immunity levels by 3-5 years after the events, and thus vulnerable for new outbreaks, but historical data and the 14 years between the 2 epizootics suggest that harbour seals in the North Sea area are only rarely exposed to the infective agent. The risk for new outbreaks of the seal plague in North Sea harbour seals is likely linked to the dynamics of the disease in Arctic seal species as well asvector species.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).