Cases of a debilitating disease that results in lesions on sea turtles off north Queensland are rising, with a researcher suspecting a link between the disease and the health of the Great Barrier Reef.
Fibropapillomatosis caused by the herpes virus and results in lesions on the turtle’s body
Lesions can grow on an animal’s eyes so they cannot see predators and cannot catch food
“Hotspot” in Cockle Bay at Magnetic Island may provide clues to the disease, with turtles only 100 metres away unaffected by tumours
The disease, called fibropapillomatosis (FP), is caused by the herpes virus and results in lesions on the turtle’s body.
The disease has been found across the world and more recently in places like Townsville.
James Cook University researcher Karina Jones has been studying the disease in turtles found near Magnetic Island off Townsville.
She said the disease could contribute to the death of turtles.
“It grows on their eyes, they can’t see predators, they can’t catch food, so sometimes they slowly starve to death — it’s not a nice thing for the turtles to experience,” she said.
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