TV:: ‘Zombie’ starfish found along Pacific coast — Experts: “Much spookier than in past” — Babies “die so quickly… they just disappear” — Change in seawater could have activated deadly pathogen — Worries about creation of ‘superbug’ — Serious ecosystem changes now appearing (VIDEO)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
By Paul Martin
September 2nd, 2014

NBC San Diego, Jun 22, 2014 (emphasis added): Wasting “Zombie” Sea Stars Found in San Diego — A mysterious disease deforming and killing sea stars along the West Coast, causing their limbs to dissolve, has reached the waters off San Diego’s coastline… The impacted creatures have also been referred to as “zombie sea stars.”… “You would see a trail of arms and [think] ‘Oh, this is going to lead me somewhere bad,’ and then you keep following the arms. Sure enough there’s this zombie sea star,” said UCSB research diver Sarah Sampson who is currently working in the North County. “You see the arms crawling away.”.. According UC Santa Cruz researchers, since April the number of cases increased dramatically in areas including Carlsbad, La Jolla, Mission Bay and Point Loma…

Prof. Raimondi, UC Santa Cruz’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department Chairman, Aug 11, 2014: “We knew absolutely when the warm water turned off the disease would also turn off and that’s not the case this time. And so this one’s much spookier than in the past.”

Drew Harvell, Cornell University marine epidemiologist, Aug 27, 2014: “I know we had a large recruit [of baby sea stars] in the San Juan (Islands) and a lot of them did not make it [due to the wasting disease]… they don’t show the same signs as the adults because they die so quickly. Once they become infected, they just disappear.”

Lesanna Lahner, Seattle Aquarium staff engineer, Aug 7, 2014: There’s concern that a change in the coastal saltwater could have activated a deadly pathogen or made the sea stars more susceptible to a pathogen… Some aquariums are using an antibiotic to treat sick sea stars, but there’s debate over whether that’s the best solution… “It’s a broad spectrum antibiotic so it’s either killing the primary infection or a secondary infection as a result of the disease… Some are worried that treating the sea stars could create a resistant superbug.”

The Rest…HERE

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