Wildlife

Earth Report

Disease Outbreak Threatening California Sea Lions

A major outbreak of a deadly disease has sickened more than 200 seas lions along the Northern California coast, the Marine Mammal Center announced Tuesday.

Officials at the center said it was the second largest outbreak of leptospirosis in California sea lions in its recorded history. This year, 220 sea lions at the Marin Headlands-based center have tested positive for the bacterial infection, which affects their kidneys.

Though sea lions diagnosed with leptospirosis are treated with antibiotics and other supportive care, roughly two-thirds of the animals with the infection do not survive.

Other animal species, including humans and dogs, can become infected with the bacteria through contact with contaminated urine, water and soil.

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