In 2010, it was discovered that 28 elephant seals had traces of H1N1 anitbodies, suggesting that they were or had been infected with the virus while 2 were tested positive for the infection itself. H1N1, you may better remember as swine flu, originated from pigs, but had emerged in humans in 2009 as a huge pandemic. Elephant seals were tested at the beginning of 2010, and tested negative, but upon return from the sea in spring, tested positive. The figure below maps out this phenomena.
|Evidence of exposure to H1N1 in northern elephant seals off central California in 2010 to 2011|
|Tracking data from two adult female elephant seals that tested positive for H1N1 from 2008 and 2010|
- Tracey Goldstein, Ignacio Mena, Simon J. Anthony, Rafael Medina, Patrick W. Robinson, Denise J. Greig, Daniel P. Costa, W. Ian Lipkin, Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, Walter M. Boyce. Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Isolated from Free-Ranging Northern Elephant Seals in 2010 off the Central California Coast. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (5): e62259 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062259
- Goldstein T, Mena I, Anthony SJ, Medina R, Robinson PW, et al. (2013) Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Isolated from Free-Ranging Northern Elephant Seals in 2010 off the Central California Coast. PLoS ONE 8(5): e62259. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062259