Original Papers

Archives of Virology

, Volume 68, Issue 3, pp 189-195

First online:

Isolation of an influenza A virus from seals

  • G. LangAffiliated withDepartment of Veterinary Microbiology and Immunology, Ontario Veterinary College University of Guelph
  • , A. GagnonAffiliated withOntario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Virus Laboratory, Veterinary Services Branch
  • , J. R. GeraciAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph

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Influenza A virus of serotype Hav1 Neq1 (H7N7 by the 1980 revised influenza typing system proposed by WHO experts) was repeatedly isolated from lung and brain tissues taken from harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) found suffering from pneumonia on Cape Cod Peninsula (U.S.A.) in the winter of 1979–1980. The seal isolates, although of a serotype identical to some fowl plague virus strains, were harmless to chickens and turkeys in transmission experiments. An earlier human infection by a Hav1 Neq1 influenza virus and the serologic relatedness of this avian serotype with the equine 1 serotype are cited in support of the view that influenza viruses with these antigenic characteristics seem to have a facility to pass from birds to mammals.