One Year Later: Disease still killing dolphins in Virginia

Posted at 6:55 PM, Jul 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-21 18:55:56-04

Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) - It's now been one year since dolphins began washing up in Virginia at an alarming rate and the disease blamed for killing them is still out there.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an Unusual Mortality Event for the bottlenose dolphin die-off from New York to Florida.

Virginia found itself at the epicenter of the deaths, with 389 dolphins stranding on beaches in the Commonwealth between July 1, 2013 and June 29, 2014, according to NOAA.

You can can read more about the Unusual Mortality Event from NOAA by clicking here.

Susan Barco, Stranding Response Research Coordinator at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, tells NewsChannel 3 that a dolphin that washed ashore in May tested positive for morbillivirus.

However, the good news is that things appear to be much calmer than last year.

"The event is not over yet but it does seem to be winding down and we are hoping that it continues to wind down and we have a more normal summer this summer," Barco told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo.

Barco remembers this time last July when the number of dolphin strandings just exploded.

"We were seeing at least a dolphin a day, sometimes more than 1 per day. We were about a week away from seeing 5-10 a day," she recalled.

If you spot a dolphin on the beach, call the Stranding Response Team at 757-385-7575.

Previous coverage on dolphin deaths:

Will hundreds of dolphins die in Virginia again this year?

Dead dolphins starting to wash up in North Carolina

More dead dolphins wash ashore

Four more dead dolphins wash up in Hampton Roads

25 more dead dolphins washed up over the weekend; Total now 164

Five more dead dolphins wash up in Virginia

Update: 13 more dead dolphins wash up in Virginia; Total now at 100 for the year

Dead dolphins washing up on Virginia beaches at an alarming rate