Big Threat to Killer Whales from Pathogens

Health of killer whales on the coast of Pacific is determined from their blowholes in a study. The bacteria and fungi present in the exhaled breath and droplets out from blowholes are hazardous. The Southern resident killer whales are already endangered.

Changes made in their habitat are not the only reason of their endangered state. Microbiome of these mammals is also one of the reasons of their endangered condition. Scientists have found bacteria and fungi in whales are disease causing in humans and other land based animals. This includes bacteria such as Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus and fungi such as Penicillium and Phoma.

 Scientists are not sure about the source of these microbes. The microbes can naturally occur in marine environment or they can be from terrestrial background as well. Microbes are also introduced in water from agricultural run-off and urban discharge. Antibiotic resistance is found in some of the bacteria by researchers. 



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