Explosive Upsurge in Virus Causing Tumors on Endangered Sea Turtles

Green Sea Turtle, Five Graves, Makena, Maui, Hawaii

By Brandon Turbeville

No one knows for sure what is causing it, but one thing is for certain, sea turtles off the coast of Florida are increasingly becoming sick and the numbers of sick turtles are starting to alarm the veterinarians treating them.

Doctors and staff at the Turtle Hospital near the Florida Keys are reporting that cases of fibropapillomatosis are exploding. It’s a disease caused by a herpes virus. “When I first started here 20 years ago, I would do 6-8 of these a month. Now we are doing 6-8 a week,” said veterinarian Doug Mader.

Many of the turtles that wind up in the hospital are covered in tumors with some having growths on their necks, underbellies and even their eyes. A number of the turtles have such massive growths that they are blinded or otherwise disabled, yet the doctors have no idea what is causing this increasing in fibropapillomatosis cases.

Some conservationists have suggested that the increase in cases of tumors is simply because the population of sea turtles itself has increased. Green sea turtles were listed as an endangered species in 1976, but the numbers of turtles nesting have reached record highs. Still, their status may only be changed from endangered to threatened as early as March of this year.

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Some experts have predictably blamed the increase of illness on global warming, while others have suggested more plausible reasons such as agricultural run-off and increasing pollution.

Despite these suggestions, however, no one knows for sure what is causing the spread of the virus. Bette Zirkaelbach stated that out of 173 sea turtles that the Turtle Hospital treated last year, 119 of them had fibropapillomatosis. Zirkaelbach says, “In 2012, it was rare to have a turtle coming in with tumors on both eyes. By fall of 2013, almost every turtle that came in with this virus had both eyes covered with tumors.”

After spending a year in the hospital pools, the turtles will be released if they are tumor-free. If the lesions find their way into the kidneys or lungs, there is simply no way to save them. Unfortunately, only one in five green sea turtles with fibropapillomatosis will ever make it back into the ocean.

This article (Explosive Upsurge in Virus Causing Tumors on Endangered Sea Turtles) can be republished under this share-alike Creative Commons license with  attribution to Brandon Turbevillethe article link and Natural Blaze.com.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense SolutionsandDispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 andv olume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria,and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 650 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

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