Environmental Protection

Recent Dolphin Deaths Caused by Virus

Veterinary pathologists from the University of Adelaide discovered that a marine virus is responsible for causing the deaths of dolphins that have recently washed up on the shores of South Australia.

Twenty-five dolphins have been found dead in South Australia the past few weeks. Dr. Lucy Woolford has been working with the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Operation (AMWRRO) to find a cause of death. After conducting studies, researchers found that morbilivirus and systemic fungal infections were the cause of death in two of the dolphins. Dolphin morbilivirus (DMV) is a marine virus that has not been reported in Australia, until now.

"They have emerged as potent pathogens marine mammals and this does raise some concern that more animals will be affected within South Australia in coming months. We don't know how big an impact it will have on the local dolphin population, whether it will be sporadic cases or become more widespread," said Dr. Woolford.

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