Neutralizing antibodies to Tillamook calicivirus (TCV) were found in sera collected from California sea lions (Zalophus c. californianus Lesson) in 1983 and 1984 and in sera collected from Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus Schreber) in 1976 and 1985. The combined prevalence of antibodies for these two species was 10/228 = 4.38%. Titers ranged from 1:20 (five animals), to 1:40 (four animals), to 1:80 (one animal) by standard microtiter neutralization assay. The seropositive pinnipeds were dispersed widely along the margins of the eastern Pacific rim, from the Bering Sea to the Santa Barbara Channel. Antibodies to TCV were not found in sera collected from northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus L.), Pacific walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens Illiger), seals of the family Phocidae, or several cetacean species. Tillamook calicivirus was isolated originally in 1981 from dairy calves in Oregon; the finding of neutralizing antibodies in two widely distributed species of sea lions suggests the possibility of a marine origin for this agent.
Calicivirus Research Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corval-lis, Oregon 97331, USA
Present address: Department of Veterinary Microbiology, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA