Pieterburen, The Netherlands - July 8, 2007
Seal Rehabilitation and Research Centre - Lenie 't Hart

"Today we received a message about 33 dead seals found on the island Hesselo, south of Anholt. This number has to be added to the 60 that had been found on Anholt, but there is no proof that these animals died from the virus distemper.

Virologist Prof Dr Osterhaus (Erasmus University Rotterdam and head of our Scientific Advisory Committee) found in 1988 and in 2002 the PDV (Phocine Distemper Virus) in samples which our staff collected from seal corpses in Denmark. Moreover our scientific staff developed the vaccine that has been used since then during virus outbreaks and will be used again as a precautionary measure these times. The vaccine gives protection for a period of aproximately one year. At the moment we have 66 seal pups in our centre, and 15 subadults. They will all be vaccinated before release into the wild.

In 2002 our field workers / volunteers collected all seal carcases along the Dutch coast. On a total number of more than 2.000 dead seals autopsy was carried out. This was the greatest autopsy examination ever, in which scientists from Japan, Spain, UK and several institutions from the Netherlands worked together in close co-operation during ten days on a variety of themes and subjects. Soon the results will be published in several PhD theses.

We all hope that this time the virus will not spread as severely as it did two times before. But we keep wondering how it is possible that three times in a row the source of the virus outbreak was at the same spot: the small island Anholt in Denmark."

- email to SealWatch.org