Herpesviral infections have been documented in some cetaceans; however, they have not yet been identified in species in the western North Pacific. In the present study, 178 tissue samples from 76 stranded cetacean individuals were tested for the presence of herpesviruses. Herpesvirus genomic DNA fragments surrounding the DNA polymerase gene were amplified in samples from four individuals. TA cloning and direct sequencing of these DNA fragments revealed the presence of two novel alphaherpesviruses, and two novel gammaherpesviruses in the four cetacean individuals. The alphaherpesviruses were associated with the lung tissue of a false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens), and with the mucus of a melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra). The gammaherpesviruses were found in the lymph tissues of a Stejneger's beaked whale (Mesoplodon stejnegeri) and a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus). The phylogenetic tree using amino acid sequences of the DNA polymerase gene supported the inclusion of the novel viruses identified here in a single monophyletic group containing alphaherpesviruses from other Atlantic cetacean species. Conversely, the novel gammaherpesviruses formed an independent clade distant from other known cetacean gammaherpesviruses.
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