Hundreds of Dolphins in the Chesapeake and Beyond Are Dying of Measles, Sort Of

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Over 300 bottlenose dolphins have washed up along the Eastern seaboard from New York to Virginia since July 1. (And the Chesapeake Bay has received its fair share.) Now scientists think they know what’s killing them in such devastating numbers. It’s called morbillivirus, and it’s related to the measles virus.

The issue now is determining why these dolphins have suddenly become vulnerable to the disease. “These animals, dolphins, carry the virus in their system and when their immune system gets compromised, they become more vulnerable to the spread of the disease,”  Maggie Mooney-Seus of the NOAA told WJZ.

What has been compromising their immune systems? It’s a question that could still take months to solve. In the meantime, if you wind up with the distinct displeasure of coming upon a stranded dolphin, don’t go near it. Instead, contact the wildlife authorities.



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