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In the News

USA Today: Deadly Pathogens Can Hitch a Ride on Ocean Microplastics, Raising Alarm Bells

April 28, 2022
  • Parasites
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Ocean trash

Deadly pathogens can hitch a ride on ocean microplastics, raising alarm bells

Published in USA Today: April 28, 2022

A novel experiment in a veterinary lab found deadly pathogens could be catching a ride on microplastics washing out to sea, concentrating the bugs and potentially putting humans and animals like sea otters, seals and dolphins at risk.

The pathogens, Toxoplasma gondii, Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia enterica, end up in waterways when feces from infected animals contaminate the water. 

In the study, published this week in the journal Scientific Reports, scientists at the University of California, Davis showed microplastics can provide a new way for these microorganisms to concentrate near coastlines and travel deep into the sea.

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