Herpesviruses and adenoviruses are significant avian pathogens that usually have coevolved with specific hosts that they may persistently or latently infect. Human impacts on our oceans are significant, and environmental degradation is expected to exacerbate the effects of viral pathogens. Little is understood of seabird viruses. We surveyed diverse seabird species for these viruses, resulting in identification of novel herpesviruses and adenoviruses. Larid herpesvirus 1, in the genus Iltovirus, was identified from ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis). While a herpesvirus has previously been identified in common loons (Gavia immer),1 we have identified a second novel loon herpesvirus, Gallid herpesvirus 2. A novel herpesvirus of northern gannets (Morus bassanus), Suid herpesvirus 1, and a novel herpesvirus of Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti), spheniscid herpesvirus 1, also were identified. Novel viruses in the genus Avian adenovirus were identified, including ring-billed gull aviadenovirus 1, brown pelican aviadenovirus 1, wood duck aviadenovirus 1, and three from northern gannets. One novel virus in the genus Atadenovirus was identified from a brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), brown pelican atadenovirus 1. In the genus Siadenovirus, two northern gannet siadenoviruses were identified, northern gannet siadenovirus 1 and northern gannet siadenovirus 2. A member of the genus Ichtadenovirus found in a ring-billed gull may have been infecting fish prey and likely represented a pass-through. Although further data is needed, the ability of adenoviruses and herpesviruses to recrudesce and cause clinical disease in seen in poultry. The potential clinical significance of these viruses will be discussed.
This project was supported by the California Department of Fish and Game’s Oil Spill Response Trust Fund through the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at the Wildlife Health Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis.
1. Quesada RJ, Heard DJ, Aitken-Palmer C, Hall N, Conley K, Childress AL, Wellehan JFX. Detection and phylogenetic characterization of a novel herpesvirus from the trachea of two stranded common loons. J Wildl Dis. 2001;47(1):233–239.