Characterization of sealpox virus, a separate member of the parapoxviruses
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A disease outbreak characterized by lesions of the skin and mucosa of the oral cavity was recognized in harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) from the German North Sea. Using electron microscopy typical parapoxvirus particles were observed. The presence of parapoxvirus was confirmed by PCR and nucleotide sequencing of part of the putative major envelope protein coding gene. Comparative sequence analysis revealed that the virus from seal is significantly different from the established parapoxvirus species Orf virus, Bovine papular stomatitis virus, Pseudocowpox virus, and Parapoxvirus of red deer in New Zealand. The results of our analysis provide evidence for inclusion of the seal parapoxvirus as member of a separate species within the genus Parapoxvirus.
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