A novel Brucella sp. was isolated from lymph nodes of four ringed seals (Phoca hispida) collected near Pangnirtung (Baffin Island, Canada) in January and February 1995 and in one harp seal (Phoca groenlandica) collected near the Magdalen Islands (Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada) in March 1996. Bacteriological characteristics were the same for all five isolates. The colonies were typical of Brucella spp., but took 2 to 5 days longer than the traditional species to appear on primary isolation media. Biotyping results did not match any of the known biovars of Brucella, but were similar to isolates of the genus Brucella previously reported from marine mammals inhabiting other areas of the northern hemisphere. This is the first confirmed report of brucellosis in marine mammals from Canada, and the first report of this organism in ringed and harp seals.
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Vol. 36 • No. 3