Morbillivirus implicated in Mid-Atlantic dolphin die-offs

Bottlenose dolphins (Photo credit- NOAA)

Bottlenose dolphins (Photo credit- NOAA)

From July 2013 to the present there has been an almost 10-fold increase in the number of reported dolphin strandings and deaths off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, prompting the declaration of an “Unusual Mortality Event”.  There have already been >450 dolphin strandings (and > 330 deaths!) thus far in 2013, far higher than the usual ~140 – 160 strandings reported for each of the past 6 years.

Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a statement in which they identified cetacean morbillivirus as the disease agent likely responsible for these elevated number of mortalities.

Read more about the dolphin die-offs from the Wired science blog here.

While only a tiny fraction of all viruses are pathogenic, they certainly aren’t helping their public image by targeting beloved charismatic megafauna.

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One Response to Morbillivirus implicated in Mid-Atlantic dolphin die-offs

  1. ellscubed says:

    Threatening charismatic megafauna!? Well we know what got bumped to the top of the eradication list…

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