Dolphin virus spreading to rivers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A deadly virus affecting dolphins for the last year shows no signs of slowing down.

In Florida, the morbillivirus is being found in dolphins that are not just in the ocean. Dolphins in the Intracoastal Waterway and rivers are dying from the virus as well.

Since last fall, the morbillivirus has killed dolphins along the East Coast -- from New York to Florida.

Nadia Gordon, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said, "In Northeast Florida, we've seen over 100 dead dolphins when our average for a year is actually 26. So it's greatly elevated."

"We've seen it move into the St. Johns River and ICW and we have animals test positive for the morbillivirus," she added.

Gordon said the morbillivirus seems to be killing dolphins in rivers and in the Intracoastal Waterway more in Duval County than in St. Johns County. Biologists are studying to learn more about this deadly virus, and they were hoping the deaths would have started to drop a year into its onset.

"We were thinking it was coming to an end here, but we're still seeing elevated numbers along with counties south of us are still having elevated numbers," Gordon said.

If you see a dead marine mammal, you're urged to call the FWC hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC.


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