Identification of a Novel Herpesvirus in St. Lawrence Beluga

A recently published paper, co-authored by Stéphane Lair (CWHC – Quebec), is reporting a novel Herpesvirus in St. Lawrence Beluga. This virus, which has been tentatively named Beluga Whale Herpesvirus, has been associated with genital proliferative lesions in male and female Beluga. This novel virus, believed to be in the alphaherpesvirus group, shares high identity with several other marine mammal herpesviruses. The lesions associated with this virus were not believed to have been the cause of death of the affected animals. Nevertheless, fatalities caused by systemic herpesviral disease have been documented in beluga. The relationship between the genital herpesvirus and fatal herpesviral infections remains to be determined. For more information on this virus see the following reference:

Bellehumeur, C., S. Lair, O. Nielsen, C.A. Gagnon. Identification of a novel herpesvirus associated with a penile proliferative lesion in a beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas). Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 51(1): 244–249, 2015.

Photo courtesy of Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press

Photo courtesy of Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press


Submitted by Stéphane Lair, CWHC Quebec


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