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  • Phocine distemper virus is a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus that is pathogenic for pinniped species, particularly seals. Clinical signs include laboured breathing, fever and nervous symptoms. PDV was first identified in 1988 as the cause of death of 18,000 harbor seals and 300 grey seals along the northern European coast. In the same year, two more outbreaks of viral disease in aquatic mammals were observed. Another Morbillivirus caused the deaths of Baikal seals in Lake Baikal, Siberia. This was later identified as a strain of the closely related canine distemper virus and was probably transmitted to the seals from terrestrial animals, CDV being widespread in canines in the Lake Baikal region. The third outbreak occurred in harbour porpoises near the British Isles and the Netherlands. A third Morbillivirus, named porpoise morbillivirus was identified as the cause. In 2002, an epidemic of PDV along the North Sea coast resulted in the deaths of 21,700 seals, estimated to be 51% of the population.

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