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Marine Measles Killing Whales

Mon., Jan. 1, 1996

A marine form of the measles may be killing blue whales in the Mediterranean, researchers say.

Four blue whales that succumbed to the illness had skin that was mottled “like the effect of paint thinner on paint,” University of Corsica scientists said in Research, a French medical journal.

The whales were found between Sept. 29 and Nov. 27. Microscopic analysis showed one had an abnormally large number of red blood cells and had suffered from a high fever, both classic symptoms of the measles.

The marine form, morbillivirus, has killed hundreds of dolphins in the Mediterranean and Atlantic and was first reported in the Pacific this fall.

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