Report: Seal deaths linked to new avian flu strain

The Associated Press
Posted Aug. 03, 2012, at 7:06 p.m.

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Scientists studying the deaths of more than a hundred harbor seals along the New England coast last year say the seals suffered from a new strain of avian flu.

A new report identifies the cause of death as an influenza A virus H3N8, which can jump from birds to marine mammals.

It was compiled by scientists at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health; the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; New England Aquarium; the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center; SeaWorld; and EcoHealth Alliance.

Katie Pugliares of the New England Aquarium tells the Portsmouth Herald that there’s no indication so far that humans are capable of contracting the virus.

The seals were found in Maine, New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts.

Information from: Portsmouth Herald, printed on April 29, 2017