MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — Scientists say a virus that has killed bottlenose dolphins along the East Coast has spread to central Florida's Indian River Lagoon.
Megan Stolen, a research scientist at the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, says 18 dead bottlenose dolphins were found in the area in August.
Florida Today (http://on.flatoday.com/1r14wZw ) reports that 70 dolphins typically die in the lagoon region annually. So far this year, 67 dolphins have died there.
Past surveys have found about that 660 bottlenose dolphins spend their lives almost exclusively in the lagoon area.
Testing is pending, but scientists say dolphins in the lagoon are showing signs of morbillivirus, such as skin and oral lesions. Those infected can appear skinny, swim erratically and make sounds as if they are coughing.
Information from: Florida Today (Melbourne, Fla.), http://www.floridatoday.com