11/09/2010 // WPB, FL, USA // Personal Injury Lawyers News // Nicole Howley

Portland, OR—Scientists are warning Oregon residents to steer clear of sea lions, especially deceased sea lions, due to a bacterial disease that many of the marine animals are carrying. The bacterium can spread from the sea lions to dogs and then to people; and through contaminated urine, water or soil, as reported by KGW.

Scientists who have been studying the sea lions say many California sea lions have already been diagnosed with the disease, leptospirosis, and have died. Two additional sea lions were found dead over the weekend.

Humans who come into contact leptospirosis may experience symptoms similar to the flu, which usually included a high fever, chills and intense headaches. In some cases, leptospirosis can be deadly.

“We are now getting calls for multiple sick or dead sea lions daily, which is higher than normal,” said Rice, an OSU Marine Mammal Institute researcher who works at the university’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. “The overall number of sea lions also has risen, so it’s difficult to compare mortality rates from year to year, but certainly we’re seeing an increase in animals that test positive for leptospirosis.”

People and pets are urged to stay far away from any sea lions.

“It can be transferred by direct contact or contact by any feces or urine the animal may have left behind. So if your see one of these guys give it a really wide berth, especially if your have a pet with you,” warned Keith Chandler, with the Stranding Network.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley

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