Two more dolphins wash ashore in Volusia

Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute will try to determine cause of death

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. - Two more dolphins washed ashore Monday on Daytona Beach Shores, marking at least the fourth such death over the last few days.

The 8-foot male dolphin calf was found around 6:30 a.m., according to the Volusia Beach Patrol.

A second adult male dolphin was also found washed ashore on Ormond Beach.

"The adult male was very emaciated and he actually had several lesions in his mouth and all over his body as well," said Wendy Noke Durden, researcher at Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute.

Experts from Hubbs SeaWorld took samples of the animals to determine the causes of death.

They're at least the fourth dolphin deaths in Volusia County since late last week after two dolphins washed ashore on Ormond Beach -- one on Thursday and one on Saturday.  One of those dolphins died after it was likely sickened by a virus and attacked by a shark, officials said.

Last week, officials told Local 6 that a veterinarian was testing the dolphins for morbillivirus, an epidemic that has killed more than 800 dolphins all along the East Coast since June.

Officials said the outbreak began July 1 off New York and has since moved south.  Ninety-three percent of the more than 800 deaths were attributed to morbillivirus, official said.

In Florida, the deaths were tracked back to October 21 in Jacksonville.  In Central Florida, five dead dolphins have shown signs of the virus but only one animal has been confirmed to have the virus.

Officials said the virus cannot be stopped and dolphins cannot be vaccinated.  They urged, however, that no one touch a stranded dolphin because other infections dolphins with the virus are prone to can be transferred to humans. 

There was a similar outbreak from June 1987 to May 1988 in which 750 dolphins were killed. That was the first known outbreak of morbillivirus.

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