Mass death of seals raises fears bird flu is jumping between mammals, threatening new pandemic

The Extinction Chronicles


Avian flu has been found in seals that died a ‘mass mortality event’ in the Caspian Sea. Now scientists are investigating whether it is the first transmission of the virus between mammals in the wild

DAGESTAN, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 07: A woman shows signboard about seals in Dagestan, Russia on December 07, 2022. In total, 2500 seals have been dead and around 700 of them have been found on the coast of the Kirovsky district of Dagestan. (Photo by Denis Abramov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
An information sign about seals in Dagestan. In total, 2,500 seals have been found dead, about 700 on the coast of the Kirovsky district of Dagestan (Photo: Denis Abramov/Anadolu/Getty)

ByJane Merrick

Policy Editor

February 1, 2023 1:48 pm(UpdatedFebruary 2, 2023 2:24 pm)

Scientists are investigating the possibility thatbird fluhas been transmitted between mammals in the wild for the first time – fuelling fears it could lead to the next pandemic in humans.

In what is being described as a “mass mortality event”, more than 700 seals were found dead in December in the Caspian Sea, near to where the highly contagious H5N1 variant of avian flu was found in wild…

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