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Avian Flu found in seals off New England coast raises concerns of mammal-to-mammal transmission

Seals off the New England coast are being killed by a strain of avian flu, leading experts to fear mammal-to-mammal transmission could be happening.

If that occurs, it could lead to the spread of a deadly H5N1 bird flu strain that could have devastating effects on people.


Researchers found that the deaths of 164 harbour seals and 11 gray seals in Maine during June and July of 2022 were linked to the second wave of an H5N1 outbreak among Atlantic coast seabirds last year.

Experts have so far recorded fewer than 900 human cases of H5N1 in the past 20 years, but the case-fatality rate is more than 50%.

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