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Marine diseases hidden beneath the waves incur high economic, ecological costs

It's World Oceans Day this week, but the state of the seas may not be cause for celebration. Among other maladies in the marine world, millions of sea stars native to the Pacific coast of North America have succumbed to a mysterious disease. Limbs pull away from the sea stars' bodies and organs extrude through their skin. The first symptom is white lesions that appear on the surface of the starfish and spread rapidly, followed by the decay of tissue around the lesions. Eventually, the sea stars' bodies begin to break down. The starfish may die within a few days. The disease is called sea star-associated densovirus (SSaDV), and researchers say it could trigger an ecological upheaval under the waves.

Visit Website | Image credit: Kathryn Ashton-Alcox