Potentially deadly infection hits California sea lions
This summer 2018 photo provided by the Marine Mammal Center shows a California sea lion prior to its rescue at a Monterey County beach along central California coast. (Marine Mammal Center via AP)
The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, October 17, 2018 7:37PM EDT
SAUSALITO, Calif. -- A rescue centre says California sea lions are coming down with a potentially fatal bacterial infection in near-record numbers.
The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito says more than 220 sea lions rescued this year have been diagnosed with leptospirosis.
It's the second-largest outbreak recorded by the rescue centre.
The centre says outbreaks aren't uncommon but the last major one was in 2011. It involved nearly 200 sea lions.
The bacterial infection affects the kidneys and can be lethal if untreated. The Marine Mammal Center says the strain affecting the sea lions has also been seen in pigs, skunks and foxes. It's transmitted through infected urine, either directly or in contaminated water or soil.
It's unclear how the sea lions contracted the infection.
Patriot heads home after recovering from malnutrition and leptospirosis! The Center has been on the forefront of research on leptospirosis in marine mammals dating back to 1985. Learn more: https://t.co/AmShCWvXnM pic.twitter.com/MfAhytqGPp— The Marine Mammal Center (@TMMC) October 16, 2018