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California sea lion on a sandy beach with flippers tucked to abdomen
In the News

San Francisco Chronicle: Why Sick Sea Lions are Washing Up on the California Coast

September 9, 2023
  • Leptospirosis

Published in the San Francisco Chronicle: September 9, 2023

Experts are warning Bay Area residents to not to approach sea lions as a potentially deadly bacterial infection wracks the local population. 

Sea lions that seem tired or that tuck their flippers into their sides might be suffering from leptospirosis — a bacterial infection that can cause irreversible kidney damage in California sea lions, as well as humans and dogs, according to the Marine Mammal Center and the Centers for Disease Control. 

The Marine Mammal Center typically sees an outbreak of the disease every four to five years, though this is not one of those years, according to Giancarlo Rulli, public relations manager for the center.

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leptospirosis
Giancarlo Rulli
California Sea Lion