The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has determined that dolphins on the east coast are likely dying from cetacean morbillivirus.
NOAA reports that there have been 488 dolphins stranded along the east coast this year. This is 300 more dolphins than the annual average. Most of the stranded dolphins that have been found are dead, with only a few being found alive. 32 of these dolphins either had cetacean morbillivirus or were suspected to have it. Cetacean morbillivirus is a virus that is similar to measles in humans. There isn’t a vaccine for the virus, but scientist are studying it in an effort to better understand it. What scientist do know about the virus is that it is spread through the air and contact with other animals. The virus is not infectious to humans. NOAA issued an Unusual Mortality Event on August 8 in response to the high amount of deaths, reports CNN.
The National Marine Fisheries Service estimates that there are close to 20,000 bottlenose dolphins living along the coast.