London: Scientists have warned equine herpes might have developed the ability to jump species in the same way as influenza, after a polar bear died in a zoo in Germany after catching herpes from a zebra.
Female polar bear Jerka, 20, suffered seizures and frothing at the mouth after her brain swelled, The Sun reported.
Her 16-year-old male mate Lars, who was also infected, was saved by veterinarians at the Zoological Gardens in Wuppertal, Germany.
Experts found the cause of death was a form of equine herpes.
Zoo keepers were baffled by the illness because the zebra house is 68 metres from the bear enclosure.
Influenza can spread from pigs to birds to humans and there are now fears this virus could be the same, the daily said.