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A Measles Type Virus Is Killing Thousands Of Seals

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A Measles Type Virus Is Killing Thousands Of Seals

2019-11-07 16:15:361 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST

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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