Serum samples collected from 200 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from two populations in the Canadian arctic, the western Hudson Bay and Lancaster Sound populations, between 1989 and 1996, were tested for antibodies to canine distemper (CDV) and phocine distemper viruses (PDV) using virus neutralization. Antibodies to CDV and PDV were detected in 48 and six polar bears, respectively. All six bears that tested positive for PDV also tested positive for CDV; in only one case did the antibody titer for PDV exceed that of CDV. Differences in antibody prevalence to CDV were detected between populations and age classes but not sex or year of sampling.
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Vol. 40 • No. 2