Identifying a killer

Identifying a killer


Photo by: Christopher B. Herron

UGA played a key role in identifying the virus that killed an unusual number of bottlenose dolphins this summer. Starting in early June, hundreds of dolphins were found dead in the mid-Atlantic region, with increased dolphin strandings reported in the waters off New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. Samples were collected and sent to UGA’s Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, housed in the College of Veterinary Medicine. In August researchers led by virologist Jerry Saliki, head of the diagnostic lab, identified the virus as morbillivirus, a subgroup within the family of paramyxo viruses. The lab is one of three in the U.S. with the ability to test tissue samples at the molecular level to identify morbillivirus. In addition to providing comprehensive diagnostic services for U.S. clients, it has served clients from areas of the Middle East, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Portugal and other countries. For more information, visit