Sera from four bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus L.) were examined for the presence of specific antibodies, and tissue and swab samples from six and four animals respectively were processed for isolation of viruses and for initiation of bowhead whale cell cultures. All sera were negative for antibodies to nine serovars of Leptospira interrogans and to 21 orthomyxovirus subtypes and a paramyxovirus (Newcastle disease virus). All sera were positive, however, for neutralizing antibodies to one or more calicivirus serotypes. Two untyped adenoviruses were isolated from colon samples of two different whales, but neutralizing antibodies to the agents could not be demonstrated in any sera. Three primary bowhead whale cell cultures were derived from kidney (two cultures) and testis (one culture), from three individual whales.

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Author notes

1

Calicivirus Research Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA

2

Research Department, Zoological Society of San Diego, San Diego, California 92112, USA

3

Present address: Calicivirus Research Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA

4

Department of Veterinary Science, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA

5

Present address: Department of Conservation and Environmental Protection, North Slope Borough, Barrow, Alaska 99723, USA

6

Present address: Department of Microbiology, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA