Scientists have discovered a new virus in seals similar to human hepatitis A virus (HAV) off of the coast of New England.
Three dead harbor seals, that died of other causes were discovered to carry the virus. Several other seal carcasses have since tested positive for the virus known as phopivirus. While the seals show no ill effects from the phopivirus it sheds light on the evolution of the HAV and phopivirus as being much more diverse and could help lead to not only the viruses origins but their pathogenicity.
Since most human infectious diseases have wildlife origins, the group may extend their research to coyotes, which feed on the dead seals, and humans who consume seal meat.