The cause of the mass death of seals in the Caspian Sea could be bird flu - scientists

The cause of the mass death of seals in the Caspian Sea could be bird flu - scientists

Bird flu has been found in the bodies of seals that died in the Caspian Sea. As per the Compass Foundation, these are data from a preliminary study of the recent mass death of seals in the Caspian Sea. Scientists believe that it is too early to conclude that it was the virus that caused the death. According to the director of the Institute of Ecology and Sustainable Development of DSU Alimurad Hajiyev, the research is ongoing.

He said that specialists from the Institute of Ecology and Sustainable Development, together with colleagues from the Research Institute of Virology and experts from the Compass Foundation, took tissue samples from dead seals in December to determine the causes of death. "Today, based on the first results, we can say that the samples tested positive for bird flu," the scientist said.
According to Hajiyev, in late spring-early summer 2022, Maly Zhemchuzhny Island (one of the main Caspian seal rookeries in the Northern Caspian) witnessed a mass death of wild birds from highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza (safe for humans).
“We think that this could have happened to the Caspian seal, as there is evidence that there is an outbreak of this strain all over the world. It kills animals, including marine mammals. Even bears in Alaska are dying from bird flu. The integrated seal monitoring program developed by our institute together with Compass will provide an opportunity to study the situation in depth and determine the reliable causes of death in the spring,” the ecologist added.
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