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    Herpes virus antibodies in Arctocephalus gazella from Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island, Antarctica

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    O. Blank, J.M. Montt, M. Celedón and D. Torres (Chile)
    Agenda Item(s)

    This paper describes evidence of antibodies against a virus related with Alphaherpesvirinae sub-family, potentially a phocine herpesvirus (PhHV-1) that affect Antarctic Fur Seals (Arctocephalus gazella) from Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island, Antarctica.
    Body fluid samples of 54 A. gazella were collected from 48 live animals and 6 from dead ones during December 1999-February 2000 fieldwork.
    Blood, pleural, pericardic and peritoneal fluid samples were tested by microneutralization test using bovine herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1) strain.
    Antibodies against BHV-1 were detected in four (7.4%) samples. The utility of the extra vascular fluid for serological research in this matter is suggested. It is also recognized the microneutralization test as sensitive method for this search. This finding also contribute with the knowledge confirming the extended distribution range of herpesvirus, affecting a large number of hosts including A. gazella.
    It is strongly trusted the necessary to develop the scientific research on diseases in Antarctic wildlife, considering it interesting to be discussed in the WG-EMM agenda, as an important factor which may affect the population success. This also may provide information to be considered in the Antarctic Treaty System, in order to provide control tasks for regulate the possible disease transmission from or into the Antarctic environment.