HONOLULU (KHON2) — A virus that could be fatal to dolphins and whales was recently discovered by University of Hawaii and Stranding Lab researchers.

The virus was originally found in only one marine mammal worldwide, a Longman’s beaked whale stranded on Maui in 2010, according to UH.

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It was more recently found in 10 dolphins and whales across the Pacific, which means the virus has spread.

The virus is called beaked whale circovirus. Circovirus can be fatal for pigs, birds and dogs.

The majority of animals that tested positive for BWCV were from the Hawaiian Islands, according to UH.

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“We were surprised to find just how many different species and how many animals overall were infected with BWCV, with 50% of the animals testing positive for this virus,” said Cody Clifton, a PhD student in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources who works at the UH Health and Stranding Lab. “Our research approach targeted animals for testing that we knew exhibited signs of sickness, but such a high rate of detection was unexpected.”