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Northward Creep of Tropical Disease Another Consequence of Climate Change?

Scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, working with NOAA Fisheries Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response researchers, identified multiple cases of lobomycosis in stranded and live, free-swimming bottlenose dolphins from coastal North Carolina.

Lobomycosis is a chronic fungal infection of the skin and, until now, only been reported in people and dolphins from tropical regions, no further north than Florida.  The cases may represent a change in the northern distribution of Lacazia loboi, the fungus that causes the disease.

Understanding shifts in distribution of marine pathogens is important when assessing health risks and to effectively forecast ecological implications.  Understanding changing ecological and human health risks will help ecosystem and public health managers develop effective response strategies.


See also: Making Waves podcast: April 15, 2009 and Tropical Fungus Range Expands into Northern Waters

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Shorter web link for sharing: http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/news/?p=7918

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