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All The Turtles In Australia Are Coming Down With Herpes

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Bad news for you guys who were thinking about going down to Australia and having some unprotected sex with a bunch of turtles in the Great Barrier Reef: There is currently a herpes epidemic there.

So you may want to consider wrapping it up.

The strain of the virus, which is turtle specific, causes fibropapillomatosis. According to New Scientist, the turtles break out in benign tumors that can grow up to nearly a foot in size. This can block the turtle’s vision, or hamper their ability to eat.

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Turtles often carry the virus, which remains dormant. Scientists in Australia are trying to figure out what could be triggering the outbreak.

The cause remains unclear, but environmental contaminants are at the top of the suspect list. “We see these tumours in turtles in very localised hotspots around the world where there is heavy human activity,” says [Karina Jones, of James Cook University].

The outbreak has also been spotted in Hawaii and Florida.

Fibropapillomatosis has also become increasingly common in turtles in Florida and Hawaii, particularly near onshore farming areas, which may be the source of pollution. Over the last 20 years, Doug Mader of the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida, says he has gone from treating six to eight turtles per month to the same number per week.

Mader agrees that human pollution is probably to blame. “It is thought that pollution may weaken their immune systems, thus rendering them more susceptible to disease,” he says.

All practice safe interspecies sex.

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