Melting Arctic ice accelerates spread of deadly virus in marine mammals

Credit: Terra Daily- Published 1 week ago
Washington DC (UPI) Nov 07, 2019

New research suggests the loss of sea ice in the Arctic is aiding the spread of a deadly virus among marine mammals. In 2002, the phocine distemper virus, or PDV, infected and killed thousands of harbor seals in the North Atlantic. Two years later, scientists identified the virus in northern...
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Credit: Wochit
Published 1 week ago -  00:38
A Measles Type Virus Is Killing Thousands Of Seals
As the planet warms, Arctic ice continues to thaw at a rapid rate, threatening sea life across the globe. A new study shows the disappearance of Arctic sea ice has allowed a deadly virus to spread among seal and otter populations. The phocine distemper virus was previously limited to the Atlantic Ocean but has since spread to the Pacific. Phocine distemper virus (PDV) is essentially the seal version of measle and is similar to the canine distemper virus. The virus appeared to be limited until 2004 when an outbreak occurred amid northern sea otters in the Alaskan Pacific. Business Insider reports that scientists were baffled as to how the once-isolated disease made its way across the world. A new study shows that over the past 15 years melting ice has opened up previously blocked pathways. That enabled PDV-carrying animals to transport the virus more regularly between the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans.

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