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Still Waters

Measles-Like Virus May Be Killing Dolphins

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From New York to Virginia, dead dolphins have been washing ashore in unusually large numbers this summer. As of Aug. 20, nearly 300 stranded bottlenose dolphins had been reported in the region, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, nearly seven times more than normal in some places.

As experts continue to investigate the cause, the leading contender is an infection called morbillivirus. Related to human measles and canine distemper, the virus seems to cause sporadic epidemics among dolphins. Many years, there are no detected cases, but when the virus hits, it can hit hard. The last epidemic struck off the Atlantic coast in the winter of 1987-88, killing more than 740 animals from New Jersey to Florida.

http://news.discover...aths-130826.htm

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Poor dolphins. I wonder if this is a cyclical thing.

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Poor dolphins. I wonder if this is a cyclical thing.

A lot of epidemics are cyclical because what happens is all the animals that survive the infection would develop immunity (mammals anyway) to the infection so another epidemic cannot occur until they are enough suscepitble individuals to be infected.

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Updated -

The bottlenose dolphin die-off that began in July has been traveling steadily south with migrating Atlantic herds, and now diseased and dead dolphins are turning up in Florida. The culprit, a measles-like virus, has claimed 753 victims and counting, making this the worst outbreak ever recorded. Recently, the bug has also been spotted in two species of whale.

http://www.nbcnews.c...-too-8C11565411

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