Serum or heparinized plasma samples were obtained between 1994 and 1996 from 20 male and 20 female adult free-ranging Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) from St. Lawrence Island and Round Island, Alaska. Samples were screened for antibodies to some potentially pathogenic bacteria and viruses. No sample had detectable antibody to Brucellaspp. Three of 40 (8%) had low antibody titers to Leptospira interrogansserovars. Phocine distemper virus antibodies were not detected. Serologic responses to one or more caliciviruses (San Miguel sea lion virus 12 or vesicular exanthema of swine serotypes E54, F55, G55, 1934B) were detected in 18% (seven of 40) walrus. Antibodies to one or more subtypes of influenza A virus (H10, N2, N3, N5, N6, N7) were detected in 21% (eight of 38). Periodic screening of free-ranging populations for exposure to infectious diseases has become an important component of bio-monitoring programs to facilitate understanding and detecting trends in marine mammal populations.
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Vol. 38 • No. 1