Measles-like Virus Is Killing Dolphins and Whales in Florida

Measles-like Virus Is Killing Dolphins and Whales in Florida

‘Flipper,’ a TV series that ran from 1964 to 1967, then again was revived for another 88 series, starred a lovable bottle-nosed dolphin. The show also continued to play the older re-runs during many years afterwards, becoming a popular show many people grew up to know and love. Flipper, the seemingly smiling dolphin, touched many hearts as other bottle-nosed dolphins do in aquarium shows due to their high intelligence and tricks.

Sadly, bottle-nosed and other species of dolphins are still threatened by commercial fishing. Now a new threat, a measles-like disease, has started to kill these beautiful animals since July and has shown its ugly face on the Florida coast. A few whale species seem to also be its target. This virus has killed 753 victims and there seems to be no end in sight. It is also now noted as the worst outbreak ever recorded say researchers (Subbaraman, NBC News).

So far only five whales have been found dead. Two pygmy whales and three humpback whales have been tested and are positive for the dolphin morbillivirus, although further testing needs to confirm whether it is the measles-like virus which is considered rare in these whales. Testing is also proving very difficult due to the tissues of these animals lay in such a decayed state.
In New York and Delaware, there has been a higher number of stranded whales, but researchers are still unsure if this is due to this current virus outbreak. Other species of dolphins and harp seals have been tested to be free of the virus. It does seem that the virus is hitting the bottle-nosed dolphin herds the hardest at the moment.

This virus seems to be spreading from shared air and close contact from other pods, thus making it impossible to stop the spread. The past governmental shut down didn’t help in trying to figure out what to do, leaving freezers full of dolphin specimens to be studied at research strand stations.

Although the virus is only particular to certain sea mammals it seems, it does make their immune system weaker. In turn, it makes it easier for bacterial and fungal infections to flourish and these organisms could possibly choose humans as a host to infect. So as a precaution, people are told not to handle the animals in any way, and to call the appropriate authorities when a sick, dying or suspicious animal is found.

By Tina Elliott

7 Responses to Measles-like Virus Is Killing Dolphins and Whales in Florida

  1. dubbljay February 15, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    I’m sorry but whenever I read of a virus culprit, I think human culprit. An honest and truly comprehensive study would reveal that environmental toxins suppress the immune system of these mammals, thus allowing them to be more susceptible to viral attacks. Sort of like AIDS.

    Reply

We will read your comment immediately so leave a remark!

RSS Guardian Express

  • Giancarlo Stanton Slam Gives Miami Win: Marlins Matters April 19, 2014
    Giancarlo Stanton hit a dramatic ninth inning walk-off grand slam to send the Miami Marlins to victory over the Seattle Mariners by a score of 8-4. The walk-off four-run homer was the fifth in Marlins history; the second by Stanton. Stanton’s home run may not have occurred, were it not for an overturned call that […]
    Robert Pannier
  • Gwen Stefani Will Replace Christina Aguilera for Season 7 of The Voice April 19, 2014
    Gwen Stefani of No Doubt will be joining Pharrell Williams as a judge in Season 7 of The Voice, replacing Christina Aguilera, who is pregnant, according to multiple sources. She has reportedly signed on for the upcoming seventh season of The Voice, which will begin taping this June, though there’s no word yet if she’ll […]
    Douglas Cobb
  • Carolina Panthers First Round Review: NFL Draft Daily [Video] April 19, 2014
    The Carolina Panthers had one heck of a season. Carolina made the playoffs for the first time since 2008, and it was their first division title since then as well. Cam Newton was consistently better at not turning over the ball as much in years past, and the defense put mediocrity aside for a season; […]
    Justin Huffman
  • Giancarlo Stanton Turning Into Most Feared Power Hitter in MLB April 19, 2014
    With one more titanic swing of the bat from Giancarlo Stanton’s hulking 6’6″ frame, the Miami Marlins slugger buried the Seattle Mariners 8-4 with a walk-off grand slam on Friday. It was the second walk-off slam in Stanton’s young career, and the fifth in Marlins’ history. The right fielder now leads the majors with six […]
    Justin Hussong
  • MLB Guardian Liberty Voice Power Rankings: Atlanta Braves on the Warpath April 19, 2014
    With the second best record in baseball, the Atlanta Braves find themselves in first in the Guardian Liberty Voice Baseball power rankings for week 3 of the MLB season. The Atlanta Braves have clearly been on the warpath, crushing the Washington Nationals last weekend in sweeping them, then taking two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies. […]
    Robert Pannier

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 627 other subscribers

Quantcast