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Study: Bottlenose dolphin tested positive for bird flu off Florida coast

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A bottlenose dolphin off the coast of Florida has tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV), commonly known as bird flu. This marks the first known case of its kind on the continent. University of Florida researchers made the discovery and reported the findings in Communications Biology on Monday, April 29.

The dolphin was first spotted in distress in a Dixie County canal in March 2022. Despite rescue efforts, it died shortly after being discovered. Postmortem exams reveal severe health issues, including brain inflammation and leptomeninges disease. The cause of death was later determined to be due to complications from bird flu.

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Experts are concerned about potential impact on marine life. Scientists fear that a spread of bird flu could be catastrophic for cetaceans, including dolphins. This isn’t an isolated incident. Other wildlife in Florida, including river otters and seals have been found with the virus.

The virus itself, first detected in North America in 2021, has been steadily spreading among birds and other mammals, raising alarms for its potential to jump to other marine species.

While this strain of the virus isn’t typically harmful to humans, it has caused millions of deaths in birds and wildlife.

Understanding how the virus spreads among different species is crucial for preventing further outbreaks and protecting marine ecosystems. Scientists are calling for more research to unravel the mystery behind how this dolphin contracted bird flu.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

A CONCERNING DISCOVERY OFF OF THE COAST OF FLORIDA.

A BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN WAS FOUND TO HAVE CONTRACTED THE CURRENT BIRD FLU.

THE DISCOVERY BY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA RESEARCHERS MAKES IT THE FIRST OF ITS KIND RECORDED WITH THIS STRAIN IN NORTH AMERICA.

THE DOLPHIN WAS FIRST SPOTTED IN DISTRESS IN A CANAL BACK IN MARCH OF 2022. 

DESPITE RESCUE EFFORTS, IT DIED SHORTLY AFTER BEING DISCOVERED.

AN AUTOPSY REVEALED SEVERE HEALTH ISSUES, INCLUDING BRAIN INFLAMMATION.

THE CAUSE OF DEATH WAS LATER REVEALED TO BE COMPLICATIONS FROM BIRD FLU.

WHAT’S CONCERNING IS THE POTENTIAL IMPACT TO MARINE LIFE.

SCIENTISTS FEAR A SPREAD OF BIRD FLU COULD BE CATASTROPHIC FOR CETACEANS, INCLUDING DOLPHINS.

THIS ISN’T AN ISOLATED INCIDENT.

OTHER WILDLIFE IN FLORIDA, INCLUDING RIVER OTTERS AND SEALS, HAVE ALSO BEEN FOUND WITH THE VIRUS.

THE BIRD FLU HAS BEEN STEADILY SPREADING AMONG BIRDS AND OTHER MAMMALS. RAISING ALARMS FOR ITS POTENTIAL JUMP TO ANOTHER MARINE SPECIES.

WHILE THIS STRAIN ISN’T TYPICALLY HARMFUL TO HUMANS, IT HAS CAUSED MILLIONS OF DEATHS IN BIRDS AND WILDLIFE.

UNDERSTANDING HOW THE VIRUS SPREADS AMONG DIFFERENT SPECIES IS CRUCIAL TO PREVENTING FURTHER OUTBREAKS.

AND PROTECTING MARINE ECOSYSTEMS. 

SCIENTISTS ARE CALLING FOR MORE RESEARCH TO UNRAVEL THE MYSTERY BEHIND THIS DOLPHIN CONTRACTED BIRD FLU.

IT’S STILL UNKNOWN HOW THE DOLPHIN GOT THE VIRUS.