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Bacteria Outbreak Strikes Sea Lions On Oregon Coast


Thousands of sea lions gather on a beach north of Heceta Head Lighthouse Viewpoint north of Florence, Oregon.

Thousands of sea lions gather on a beach north of Heceta Head Lighthouse Viewpoint north of Florence, Oregon.

Chris Pietsch/Register-Guard

A bacteria outbreak is making sea lions sick along the Oregon Coast so state officials warn people and their pets to stay away from the marine mammals.

“Over the past few months, we have been getting calls for multiple sick or dead sea lions daily, which is higher than normal,” Oregon State University Researcher Jim Rice said in a statement issued Thursday by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

OSU’s Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has confirmed at least eight cases of leptospirosis in sea lions since the outbreak began in late September. The last such outbreak on the Oregon Coast was in 2010.

Ill sea lions this fall have mostly been found on beaches in Lincoln, Tillamook and Clatsop counties, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Dogs are the most at risk of infection due to contact with sick or dead sea lions, or their bodily fluids.

Read the full story at the Register-Guard.

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