Scientists have been studying the mysterious deaths of seals off the coast of New England. Last fall, 162 dead young harbor seals washed up on the beaches of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Researchers now say the seals were killed by a new strain of influenza. In a paper published this week in the journal mBio, scientists say the virus evolved from a strain of bird flu, and then gained the ability to spread from seal to seal.
Three quarters of infectious diseases in humans have come from other species, so scientists are studying this latest virus carefully.
- Dr. Simon Anthony, postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University, lead author of the mBio study
This segment aired on August 1, 2012.