In August of 2022, University of Florida (UF) College of Veterinary Medicine researchers and state and federal laboratories identified the first cetacean to be found infected with the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) in America, and the second known case in the world. The virus recovered from this dolphin belonged to clade 22.214.171.124b of the Eurasian H5 viral lineage, which has been widespread in North American and European birds.
The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) stranded in Horseshoe Beach, FL in March of 2022. A necropsy was conducted by UF Aquatic Animal Health Program (UF AAH) and UF Marine Animal Rescue Program (UF MAR) personnel the following day. Following additional screening for HPAI due to the bird die-off occurring across the country, HPAIV was confirmed in this specimen by the World Health Organization Collaborating Center at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.