Testing has been done on many of the seals who have recently surfaced on beaches of New England.

Over the last few weeks, an alarming number of seals have washed ashore, confusing officials and residents alike. Now, according to WGME 13, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say that some of the seals tested preliminarily positive for either avian influenza or phocine distemper virus. In addition, NOAA reports four seals so far have tested positive for both viruses.

While part of the outbreak remains a mystery, one piece of the puzzle isn't new. For years, avian flu and distemper have also been detected at low levels in seals along the northeastern U.S. coast in other years, considered to be non outbreak, according to the NOAA. Also, past seal mortality events in the northeastern U.S. coast have been linked to avian flu and distemper, according to NOAA.

However, NOAA says it is still much too early to determine if these are the main cause of deaths. They have more samples to process and analyze.


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