The present study was designed to identify and compare 32 beta-hemolytic streptococci isolated from 28 different harbor seals of the German North Sea during the phocine distemper outbreak in 2002. The bacteria were identified as Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus based on cultural, biochemical, serological and molecular studies. Epidemiological investigations by PCR restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of the 16S-23S rDNA intergenic spacer region and gene szp and by macrorestriction analysis of the chromosomal DNA of the strains by pulsed field gel electrophoresis revealed that all 32 strains appeared to be identical. These results indicate that a single bacterial clone seemed to be distributed among the harbor seal population of the German North Sea during this outbreak.
- Harbor seal
- Phocine distemper virus
- Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus