While experts say that the new strain of flu, known as H3N8, is not an immediate cause for concern they are still keeping a wary eye on this new strain of influenza as flu season approaches.
The cause for concern started in 2011 when 162 harbor seals in New England died of what experts thought at the time was pneumonia. After further studies, it came to light that at least five of the baby seals had perished from a new strain of flu.
This flu as well as the H1N1 stems from a strain of influenza that affects birds. At one time, it was transferred to pigs giving it the nickname the “Swine Flu.” This new strain seems to be affecting mammals causing the center of disease control to worry that it will spread to humans as well.
Adding to researchers concerns is the fact that this strain of flu is capable of targeting a receptor in the respiratory tract of humans known as SAa-2,6. This virus has the ability to attack the mammalian and bird receptors making it twice as devious as the strains that have come before it.
Researchers are still doing research on the H3N8 virus and while there is no cause for concern as of yet, they are wary and looking for ways to keep humans from coming into contact with the virus.
The research has been published in the online journal of the American Society for Microbiology, mBio.