Morbilliviruses belong to the family Paramyxoviridae , and are enveloped, negative-sense single-stranded RNA viruses. Members of the genus Morbillivirus are able to infect a wide range of hosts to cause varied types of disease, many of which are severe.
Morbillivirus infections in marine mammals are often referred to as “distemper” because their clinical presentation resembles that of another morbillivirus, canine distemper virus (CDV). When discussing morbillivirus infections in marine mammals, it is important to consider the number of different specific viruses encompassed under that umbrella:
● Phocine distemper virus (PDV)
● Baikal seal morbillivirus (BSM); considered a strain of European CDV
● Striped dolphin morbillivirus (DMV)
● Porpoise morbillivirus (PMV)
● Some marine mammals are susceptible to CDV