The genome of an influenza virus from a pilot whale: relation to influenza viruses of gulls and marine mammals

Infect Genet Evol. 2014 Jun:24:183-6. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2014.03.026. Epub 2014 Apr 3.


Influenza virus A/whale/Maine/328B/1984 (H13N2) was isolated from a diseased pilot whale. Since only a partial sequence was available, its complete genome was sequenced and compared to the sequences of subtype H13 influenza viruses from shorebirds and various influenza viruses of marine mammals. The data reveal a rare genotype constellation with all gene segments derived of an influenza virus adapted to gulls, terns and waders. In contrast, the phylogenetic trees indicate that the majority of influenza viruses isolated from marine mammals derived from influenza viruses adapted to geese and ducks. We conclude that A/whale/Maine/328B/1984 is the first record of an infection of a marine mammal from a gull-origin influenza virus.

Keywords: Avian influenza virus; Influenza virus ecology; Pinnipeds; Whale.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquatic Organisms / virology
  • Base Sequence
  • Charadriiformes / virology*
  • Influenza A virus / genetics*
  • Influenza A virus / isolation & purification
  • Influenza in Birds / virology*
  • Marine Biology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / virology
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Whales, Pilot / virology*


  • RNA, Viral