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Volume 11, Number 12—December 2005

Phocine Distemper Outbreak, the Netherlands, 2002

Jolianne M. Rijks*†‡, Marco W.G. Van de Bildt‡, Trine H. Jensen§, Joost D.W. Philippa‡, Albert D.M.E. Osterhaus*†‡, and Thijs Kuiken*†‡Comments to Author 
Author affiliations: *Dutch Wildlife Health Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; †Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht, the Netherlands; ‡Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; §Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederiksberg, Denmark

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Table 2

Comparison of overall characteristics of the 1988 and 2002 phocine distemper virus epidemics in the Netherlands

Variable 1988 2002
Date index case May 22* Jun 16
Date median case Sep 4* Sep 2
Central epoch (d) 115* 93
No. found stranded 417* 2,284
No. counted in preepidemic year 966† 3,595‡
No. counted in postepidemic year 535† 2,365‡
Average annual population growth in preepidemic years (%) 19¶
Estimated cumulative proportion of deaths (%)# 53 54

*Source: ref (4).

†Source: Report "Compilatie van gegevens over zeehonden en zeehondenopvang in de Nederlandse Waddenzee" (available at

‡Source: Wadden Sea Newsletters 2001-3 and 2003-2 (available at

§Source: ref (19).

¶Source: ref (15).

#Calculated as follows: [(number of live seals counted in preepidemic year + average annual growth in preepidemic years) – (number of live seals counted in postepidemic year – average annual growth in preepidemic years)]/(number of live seals counted in preepidemic year + average annual population growth in preepidemic years).

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