Sea otters picked up swine flu

Same killer strain that made people sick in 2009 also infected the marine animals

By Janet Raloff, 15:42 PM April 11, 2014

An especially infectious form of swine flu swept across the globe in 2009. By year end, it had sickened an estimated 55 million people in the United States alone, killing more than 11,000. But pigs and people were far from the only victims of this virus, known as H1N1. Sea otters picked up the nasty bug, too, new data show.

What made scientists look for the germ in ocean animals? They recently found antibodies to the virus — signs of exposure — in northern elephant seals. Like the otters, they...

Source URL: