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'Unusual' coral disease outbreak spreading fast on Kauai

By Associated Press

POSTED:



A report by the U.S. Geological Survey finds that an outbreak of coral disease along Kauai's North Shore is an epidemic.

Dr. Thierry Work, head of infectious disease for the U.S. Geological Survey, told The Garden Island that this is the first time white coral disease on this scale has been documented in Hawaii corals.

In late September, Work and other scientists got a look at the unusual outbreak along Kauai's North Shore. They photographed diseased coral and took samples while also applying a marine epoxy to try to stop the disease's progression.

Work said the disease is rapidly spreading. A report released Wednesday said microscopic changes in tissue suggest the corals are under some type of stress.

"I have never seen a cyanobacterial disease like this killing corals to this degree in Hawaii," he said. "This is truly an unusual event."

Another big concern is whether this new strain of cyanobacteria is infectious to humans and marine life. Work said he and other scientists involved in the ongoing study have spotted puffer fish with skin discoloration and unusual lesions on their fins.

"Right now I have no evidence that there's any relationship between the coral disease and what's happening to the turtles and fish," Work said. "We're going to try to come out next week to look at the fish, to see what's causing the lesions."






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Mike174 wrote:
Probably pollution from dumping unclean or inadequately treated sewage on the ocean.
on November 24,2012 | 06:23AM
cojef wrote:
Remember growing up in Kapaa in the 20/30's and noticed the destruction of the reefs behind the courthouse, resulting from the pumping of swamp water into the ocean by the sugar plantation. Prior to draining, kids used the swamp as a playground to play cowboy and indians.
on November 24,2012 | 11:16AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Please save the coral! Coral is the cornerstone of the entire reef ecosystem.
on November 26,2012 | 12:39PM
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