Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardsi) were captured in the coastal regions of Southeast Alaska, Gulf of Alaska, Prince William Sound (PWS), and Kodiak Island during 1976–1999. Blood was collected from 286 seals. Sera were tested for evidence of exposure to Brucella spp., phocid herpesvirus-1 (PhoHV-1), phocid herpesvirus-2 (PhHV-2), and phocine distemper virus (PDV). Antibody prevalence rates were 46% (46/100) for Brucella spp., 93% (225/243) for PhoHV-1, 0% (0/286) for PhHV-2, and 1% (2/160) for PDV. Antibody prevalence for Brucella spp. was directly related to host age. Antibody prevalence for PhoHV-1 was higher in PWS as compared to the other three regions. No evidence of mortality attributable to these four agents was observed during the course of this study. Based on the results of this survey, none of these agents is considered a significant mortality factor in harbor seals from the four regions of coastal Alaska included in the study.
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Vol. 42 • No. 2