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Research, South Australia

Dolphin Virus widespread

A series of juvenile dolphin deaths have been confirmed to be the result of a not previously reported virus

Researchers from the University of Adelaide conducted post-mortems on the 25 deceased dolphins with the help of Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Operation and assistance from Biosecurity SA. The pathology results have been confirmed, showing that it’s the first case of dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) found in South Australia.

Previously the virus was found in other states and overseas. It is unknown whether it is a sporadic outbreak or will become widespread, but findings have been delivered to the appropriate authorities.

Veterinary pathologist Dr Lucy Woolford, working within Roseworthy Campus´ new Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, said they have identified dolphin morbillivirus and systemic fungal infection as the cause of the recent death of two juvenile dolphins.

"We don´t know how big an impact it will have on the local dolphin population, whether it will be sporadic cases or become more widespread."

DMV has been previously implicated in the death of juvenile dolphins in Queensland, northern NSW and Western Australia and, overseas, the virus has been thought to be the cause of die-offs of whales and dolphins.

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