Sunday, 29 December 2013

Bottlenose dolphins off US coast hit by measles-like virus

More than 1,000 migratory bottlenose dolphins have died from a measles-like virus along the US eastern seaboard in 2013 and the epidemic shows no sign of abating, a marine biologist said on Monday.

The death toll exceeds the 740 dolphins killed during the last big outbreak of the then unknown virus in 1987-88.

"It is having a significant impact and that is something we're monitoring closely," said Erin Fougeres, a marine mammal biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

An estimated 39,206 bottlenose dolphins populated the eastern seaboard, to a depth of 25 feet, from New Jersey to Central Florida in 2010, according to the latest NOAA census.

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