A bottlenose dolphin found dead in a Florida canal in the spring tested positive for a highly virulent strain of bird flu, scientists said.
- This version of the virus, which has spread widely among North American and European birds, has affected an unusually broad array of species.
- But these findings represent the first two documented cases in cetaceans, a group of marine mammals that includes dolphins, porpoises and whales.
- This strain of bird flu is known as Eurasian H5N1.
- While experts emphasise that the risk to humans remains low, the spread of the virus to new species poses potential risks to wildlife and provides the virus with new chances to mutate and adapt to mammalian hosts.
- Besides birds, the virus has earlier turned up in foxes, bobcats, skunks, and seals.