Distemper among harbor seals with the consideration of polychlorinated biphenyls in the marine environment
Nabb, Keith Ashton
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This paper analyzes a deterministic model of the 1988 epizootic of Phocine Distemper Virus (PDV) among the harbor seal population in the Wadden Sea locality. Modification to the standard SIR model is necessary as oceanic contaminants further complicate the dynamics of the disease. Specifically, the influence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on the seals' main food source is considered. Numerical calibration with this model is conducted with current data. An analysis of the long-term effects of the epizootic is studied and the findings indicate that consideration of uptake through the food chain is not sufficient in suggesting that PCB had a direct effect on the outcome of the epizootic. Additional factors such as immuno-suppressive effects and acute toxicity need to be examined further.