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September 10, 2013     Cape Gazette
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September 10, 2013

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12 TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10- THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2013 CAPE LIFE Cape Gazette Dolphin strandings double in August Virus connected to deaths By Melissa Steele melissasteele@capegazette com August turned out to be a bad month for dolphins as officials tended to more strandings than normal. "Usually we have one to two strandings in August," said Suzanne Thurman, executive director of Marine Education Research and Rehabilitation In- stitute. "We more than doubled that amount." MERR volunteers tended to 22 dolphin strandings in August alone for a total of 32 so far this year, Thurman said. Volunteers have also found 13 sea turtles and a pygmy sperm whale that had been pregnant, both dead. The majority of the bottlenose dolphins tested positive for a virus that scientists linked to dolphin deaths up and down the Atlantic Coast this summer. The morbillivirus found in the dolphins is a similar strain to measles found in humans and distemper in dogs. Many of the dolphins that washed ashore this summer were very decomposed, she said. After volunteers find a stranded dolphin, tissue samples are gath- ered and sent to labs across the country, each of which conducts different tests. "Scientists are trying to find DOLPHINS swim off the coast of Lewes. CASSIE GOTTO PHOTO out if this is a natural occurring virus," Thurman said. Some have suggested pol- lutants that flowed out to sea following last year's Hurricane Sandy may have contributed to the virus. While there is no proof that contaminated water has caused dolphin deaths, Thurman said, if a dolphin's immune system is depressed it makes them more susceptible to a virus such as morbillivirus. "So much went into the water after Sandy," she said. "It's just speculation what happened, or what may have ended up in the water." Whether the dolphin strain is communicable to humans is uknown, Thurman said. However, she cautions people who come across a stranded dol- phin to leave it alone and contact her stranding agency. To report strandings and sight- ings, call MERR at 302-228-5029. LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS INFORMATION GUIDE AVAILABLE RON MACARTHUR" PHOTO MEMBERS OF THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS of Sussex were on hand recently at a Sussex County Council meeting to display the newest edition of the They Represent You pamphlet, containing names and con- tact information for elected officials, voting information and other coun- ty-related contact information. About 11,000 copies will be distributed through the county, town halls, libraries and special events over the next two years. At the announcement are (I-r) County Administrator Todd Lawson; Councilman Vance Phillips; Council President Mike Vincent; Jane Lord and Janet Orlando of the League of Women Voters; Council Vice Presi- dent Sam Wilson; and Councilwoman Joan Deaver. SAVINGS ON A WATER HEATER FLUSH C)Austin Cox I i t ,/,flr %1 IT/I, r L 888-960-3347 HEATING OR AC TUNE-UP (-)Austin Cox 888-960-3347 SAVINGS ON ANY PLUMBING SERVI[E/REPAIB (.-)Austin Cox 888-960-3347  FINANCING Some restrictlons agply. Call for cl/ails C')Austin,x 888.-960-3347 SAVINGS ON ANY HEATING OR COOLING SERVICE WORK 888-960-3347 SAVINGS ON ANY HEATING SYSTEM INSTALLATION ()Austin Cox 888-960-3347 10 YEAR PARTS & LABOR WARRANTY With the Purchase of a YORK High Bciency Heating & Air Conditioning C-Austin Cox "" Some rear.ions apply. 888-960-3347 CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR Includes Installation (.)Austin Cox t i z tt i r 888-960-3347