Scientists Warn Of Parasite That's Killing California Sea Otters And Could Threaten Human Life

Scientists Warn Of Parasite That's Killing California Sea Otters And Could Threaten Human Life

Parasites are causing problems in California. According to a U.C. Davis press release, four sea otters have died as a result of toxoplasmosis, and a rare strain of the Toxoplasma gondii parasite is to blame.

Researchers are aware of this particular parasite and say it not only has consequences for sea life but could also threaten humans. It also is a parasite that had previously been studied but was not found in California.

Scientists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife worked with the University of California to publish a study in the Frontiers in Marine Science journal.

Researchers studied the sea otters that were stranded on the coast of California between 2020 and 2022. The cases of toxoplasmosis in the animals were extreme, with many parasites being found on the otter's bodies. The only place the parasites were not found was in their brains.

As they continued to study the strain, researchers were concerned about the ecosystem and the rest of the area. That danger could pose a risk to humans.

According to U.C. Davis researchers, the strain has not been seen in humans yet, but they still wanted the public to be aware of the possibility.

A researcher from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Melissa Miller, said in the press release: "Because this parasite can infect humans and other animals, we want others to be aware of our findings, quickly recognize cases if they encounter them and take precautions to prevent infection."

They bring out that toxoplasmosis can affect any warm-blooded animal. As a result, it could be seen in humans, along with sea life.

She also went on to say that she has been studying this issue for 25 years and has never seen parasitic numbers that high.

The CDC reports that 40 million Americans already carry the toxoplasmosis of the parasite. Their immune system fights off the parasite before it causes any symptoms or serious illness.

Timothy Roberts

I love to write and it keeps me busy. I've been working online, full time since 1999. When you can't find me at the keyboard, you'll find me getting as much as I can out of life. I enjoy living simply, playing games, visiting the beach, and spending time with my family.

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