Viral interleukin 10 (IL-10) like open reading frames have been identified in several pox- and herpesviruses, including the fish herpesviruses Anguillid herpesvirus 1 (AngHV-1) and Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3). European eel (Anguilla anguilla) IL-10 was sequenced, in order to compare European eel and common carp (Cyprinus carpio) IL-10 with their alloherpesviral counterparts. Homology between the virus and host IL-10 amino acid sequences is low, which is confirmed by phylogenetic analysis. However, the three dimensional structures of the fish and alloherpesviral IL-10 proteins as predicted by modeling are highly similar to human IL-10. Closely related AngHV-1 and CyHV-3 are expected to have obtained their viral IL-10 genes independently in the course of coexistence with their respective hosts. The presence and structural conservation of these alloherpesviral IL-10 genes suggest that they might play an important role in the evolution of pathogenesis.