Highly Pathogenic Bird Flu Identified in Dead Florida Dolphin

A Florida bottlenose dolphin was discovered with avian influenza in a landmark case studied by University of Florida researchers and different companies, highlighting the inter-species transmission dangers of this virus.

Researchers documented the primary North American cetacean case of avian influenza in a Florida dolphin, underscoring the necessity for additional analysis on this cross-species virus transmission.

The case of a Florida bottlenose dolphin discovered with extremely pathogenic avian influenza virus, or HPAIV — a discovery made by University of Florida researchers in collaboration with a number of different companies and one of many first studies of a always rising listing of mammals affected by this virus — has been printed in Communications Biology.

Detailed Investigation and Analysis

The report paperwork the invention, the primary discovering of HPAIV in a cetacean in North America, from the preliminary response by UF’s Marine Animal Rescue workforce to a report of a distressed dolphin in Dixie County, Florida, to the following identification of the virus from mind and tissue samples obtained in a postmortem examination.

Analyses initially carried out at UF’s zoological drugs diagnostic laboratory dominated out the presence of different potential brokers at play in the dolphin’s illness, with the Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Kissimmee, Florida, verifying the presence of HPAI virus in each the lung and mind.

Those outcomes have been confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, which characterised the virus subtype and pathotype. The virus was confirmed to be HPAI A (H5N1) virus of HA clade Subsequent tissue evaluation was carried out on the Biosafety Level 3 enhanced laboratory at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Collaborative Efforts and Research Implications

Allison Murawski, D.V.M., a former intern with UF’s aquatic animal drugs program, was first creator on the examine and developed a case report on the dolphin as a part of her analysis venture. She traveled to Memphis and labored intently with Richard Webby, Ph.D., who directs the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Studies on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals and Birds at St. Jude’s and served as corresponding creator on the paper

Webby’s laboratory investigates avian influenza instances in many species and was key in figuring out the place the virus might have originated, what distinctive RNA traits or mutations have been present that might recommend its potential to contaminate different mammals, and the way the virus could possibly be tracked from this supply.

The researchers sequenced the genomes from native birds and checked out viruses remoted from Northeast seal populations.

“We still don’t know where the dolphin got the virus and more research needs to be done,” Webby mentioned.

“This investigation was an important step in understanding this virus and is a great example where happenstance joins with curiosity, having to answer the ‘why’ and then seeing how the multiple groups and expertise took this to a fantastic representation of collaborative excellence,” mentioned Mike Walsh, D.V.M., an affiliate professor of aquatic animal health, who served as Murawski’s school mentor.

Reference: “Highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) virus in a common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) in Florida” by Allison Murawski, Thomas Fabrizio, Robert Ossiboff, Christina Kackos, Trushar Jeevan, Jeremy C. Jones, Ahmed Kandeil, David Walker, Jasmine C. M. Turner, Christopher Patton, Elena A. Govorkova, Helena Hauck, Suzanna Mickey, Brittany Barbeau, Y. Reddy Bommineni, Mia Torchetti, Kristina Lantz, Lisa Kercher, Andrew B. Allison, Peter Vogel, Michael Walsh and Richard J. Webby, 18 April 2024, Communications Biology.
DOI: 10.1038/s42003-024-06173-x

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