90 Percent of Monterrey Bay Dolphins Plagued by Mysterious Lesions
Image credit: cheetah100/Flickr
Just as scientists make forward progress towards a cure for the contagious face-eating cancer plaguing Tasmanian devils, an outbreak of mysterious skin lesions has spread through at least on population of bottle-nosed dolphins.As much as 90 percent of the bottle-nosed dolphin population in Monetary Bay, California, exhibits one of five types of lesions, the most common of which resemble those of the poxvirus.
The exact cause of the condition, however, remains unknown. Still, as Daniela Maldini, who led the research, explained:
Our first suspicion immediately falls on contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, organochlorines and fire retardants.
Maldini believes that these contaminants may have weakened the dolphins' immune system, making them more susceptible to infection.
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