Scientists fear outcomes of the Bird Flu spreading from mammal to mammal


A bird and sea lion sitting together on a rock, unaware of the transmission of Avain Influenza between their species. (photo via Wikimedia Commons under the creative commons license)

A sea lion that appeared dead on the coastline of Chepeconde, Peru, was found still alive, but infected with the deadly virus – Avian Influenza aka Bird Flu. The Bird Flu has previously only affected birds and rarely humans. 

Avian Flu has infected and killed at least 63,000 sea birds in national parks in Peru since November, and many more can be seen lying dead on coastlines around the country. But more recently, scientists have been finding the Avian Flu in sea lions. This month alone, 3,487 sea lions have died from the virus. 

But it’s not only sea lions that have died, dolphins and lions have been infected as well. Scientists are worried not only that the virus has migrated from infecting birds to infecting mammals, but that this could mean mammal to mammal transmission of the virus could be a very real possibility. There’s a possibility of the strain mutating in the process of jumping from mammal to mammal. Scientists are worried that it could become a risk for the public, and are issuing a warning to take precautions to avoid it becoming another pandemic for humans.