Sea turtle exposed to tumor-causing virus now receiving treatment

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By: Erika Fernandez
May 19, 2017

PANACEA, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Gulf Specimen Aquarium Lab in Panacea rescued a green sea turtle Wednesday. That turtle is suffering from a virus leaving it with tumors all over its body.

"These beautiful green turtles I think are sending a message to everybody that we need to take care of our environment," says jack Rudloe from Gulf Specimen Laboratory.

A fisherman rescued the animal after seeing it floating near Alligator Point. After handing it over to the Gulf Specimen Lab, Rudloe says there's nothing they can do for it.

"A fibro papilloma turtle is something that could spread to the rest of our system and cause infections and harm other turtles that are healthier or less sick than this," Rudloe said.

Rudloe says 22 percent of turtles caught in Florida have this virus. Numbers are have increased after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

"We have been seeing within the last five years or more, we've been seeing a lot of turtles with this. Mostly we see them dead washed up on the beach," Rudloe said.

Rudloe believes poor water quality in the Gulf may be to blame.

"We need to preserve them. We need to do what we can as caretakers of the earth. We need to fight the cause and protect the turtles," says fisherman, Hezekiah Gross.

The turtle was sent off to the Gulf Lab in Panama City for treatment. FWC says there are many studies being conducted working to find out what causes the virus in the first place.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
May 17, 2017

PANACEA, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Gulf Specimen Marine Lab in Panacea, Florida is caring for a rescued sea turtle that is suffering from a herpes-like virus that causes tumors.

The disease is called fibropapilloma, which results in benign tumors that may hinder swimming, vision, feeding, and escape from predators.

Jack Rudloe with the aquarium says he believes the tumors are a consequence of poor water quality in the gulf.

The sea turtle was caught by a fisherman in Alligator Harbor on Wednesday.

The sea turtle is currently at the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab, but will be transported to Gulf World Aquarium Thursday for rehabilitation.

Rudloe says Gulf World has special equipment to treat the tumors.

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