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Posted Mon Nov 11 2013: from Wired Science:
Dolphin-Killing Virus Spreads South, May Be Infecting Whales Too
A viral outbreak that's killing bottlenose dolphins is moving down the U.S. East Coast as the animals migrate south for the winter. Between July 1 and November 3, at least 753 animals have died.... The outbreak began along the coast between New York and Virginia this summer. Now, carcasses are washing ashore in the Carolinas and Florida. Researchers have identified the cause as dolphin morbillivirus, a pathogen that's related to human measles and canine distemper. Morbillivirus infects dolphins' lungs and brains, causing weird behaviors and skin lesions and pneumonia (but the marine mammals can't pass it on to humans).... Indeed, there's something in the mix this time around that could be even more worrying. Other species have been showing up dead with dolphin morbillivirus in their tissues. Since July, three out of four dead humpback whales (in Massachusetts, Virginia, and North Carolina), and a two out of three dead pygmy sperm whales (in Georgia and Massachusetts) have tested positive for the pathogen. Dolphin morbillivirus isn't often reported in these species. Whether the whales are dead because of a morbillivirus infection - or simply exposed to it - is still unknown.
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'Doc Michael says:
Bottlenose going viral? I didn't even know they had the Internet down there!

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