Melting Arctic Ice May Be Causing A Deadly Virus To Spread In Marine Animals

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According to a study, melting Arctic Sea Ice is causing transmission of deadly viruses in marine animals.The viruses are transferred from one habitat to another

Written By Pragya Puri | Mumbai | Updated On:

According to a study, there is a rise in the number of deadly viruses among the sea animals around the Arctic which include seals, otters and sea lions mainly due to several changes in the climate. 

Appearance of PDV virus 

According to the study published, it was determined that phocine distemper virus (PDV) was a common virus found in the northern Atlantic ocean for several decades but due to constant melting of ice owing to global warming, the virus has started to appear among the marine mammals present in the Pacific Ocean as well. 

Global warming leads to melting of ice

The study was conducted by the scientists for 15 years during which they tracked various animals using satellite and discovered that the PDV which is responsible for killing some of the species was commonly observed when the Arctic ice started to melt and was easily detectable among the mammals who now can freely move from the Atlantic to Pacific regions. The continuous melting of ice due to rising temperatures have paved the way for the aquatic animals to disperse from one place to another. Earlier, due to the presence of ice, many sea lanes were blocked and were impassable. 

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Melting of Arctic ice led to transmission of virus

According to the IPCC report that was published in the month of September, these ice changes that have occurred in September are likely “unprecedented for at least 1,000 years”. The research showed that about 30% of the population of Steller sea lions were reported infected with the viral diseases which were earlier only confined to the Arctic region. According to the reports, the PDV did not escalate in the Pacific region until 2009. The author of the study told international media that, the melting sea ice is paving the way for marine wildlife to seek and inhabit new habitats and remove the physical barriers. Due to the present condition, when animals come in contact with new species, chances of introduction to new diseases and transmission of new viruses increase.  When an organism is infected by the PDV, it produces symptoms like fever, laboured breathing, and attacks on the nervous system. 

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