Identification of a herpes-like virus in sea otters during rehabilitation after the T/V Exxon Valdez oil spill
During implantation of radiotelemetry devices in sea otters (Enhydra lutris) at the Seward Otter Rehabilitation Center, surgical team members noted ulcers in the oral cavity of each of five animals examined. Oral lesions were identified in 25 of 27 otters examined at the center. Histological evaluation of the lesions revealed focal areas of mucosal epithelial necrosis with associated intranuclear viral inclusion bodies. A herpes-like virus was subsequently identified ultrastructurally. The concern of releasing a virus of unknown origin and virulence into a naive wild otter population prompted management decisions restricting the movement of otters and jeopardizing the scheduled release of the otters on 27 July 1989....