A bottlenose dolphin found dead in Florida’s Dixie County was infected with the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, or HPAIV, making it the first cetacean to be found with the virus in America and only the second known case in the world.
The young male dolphin was recovered in March at Horseshoe Beach by the University of Florida’s marine animal rescue team. A collaboration between UF College of Veterinary Medicine researchers and state and federal laboratories identified the unexpected infection with HPAIV, commonly known as bird flu. The virus recovered from the dolphin belonged to clade 22.214.171.124b of the Eurasian H5 viral lineage.
Wild birds have spread H5 clade 126.96.36.199b HPAIV widely in North America and Europe this year. The virus primarily affects wild birds and domesticated poultry but only rarely infects people. Researchers suspect the dolphin likely got infected by interacting with a wild bird killed by HPAIV.
Read more at the University of Florida