Dolphin Virus Infects Bottle-Nose Dolphins in Florida

November 14, 2013 / No Comments

The measles-like virus that is killing hundreds of dolphins along the east coast of the United States has reportedly spread to Florida too.

dolphins Dolphin Virus Infects Bottle Nose Dolphins in Florida

NBC News said that the morbillivirus, which already took the lives of 753 cetaceans, is now making its presence felt in Florida, where bottle-nose dolphins are appearing on beaches dead or dying.

Teri Rowles of the NOAA Fisheries Marine Mammal Stranding Response Program says that most of the dolphins seem decomposed, and thus it is difficult to study the virus in its tissue samples. He also adds, that there is no vaccine that can be used for any cetacean species to prevent this from happening.

As the virus spreads to Florida, it has also begun to infect the whales as well. Three humpback whales and two pygmy whales were found to be infected with the morbillivirus. However, the researchers have not found the reason for the deaths yet.

Rowles says that researchers are studying how the resident Florida bottle-nose pods are interacting with the migrating pods. Almost 740 dolphins were recorded to be dead between August 1987 and April 1988 in an unusual mortality event as per NOAA. Common dolphins, spotted dolphins, and harp seals along the east coast were tested and it was found that these species do not have the virus in them.