bottlenose dolphin (file photo)
JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. (AP) -- State wildlife officials say a disease that has killed more than 800 bottlenose dolphins in the mid-Atlantic and southeastern United States has been confirmed in Georgia.
Department of Natural Resources officials say four dolphins found dead at Wassaw and Jekyll Islands in November tested positive for dolphin morbillivirus.
Officials say the virus is similar to measles and impacts the lungs, brain and immune system of marine mammals. The disease is not infectious to humans.
Authorities say they're not surprised by the findings - since dolphins have also tested positive for the virus in South Carolina and Florida.
Department of Natural Resources officials say they've found 23 dead dolphins in Georgia since Nov. 15.
Wildlife biologist Clay George says the state usually sees 21 dolphins stranded on its shores per year.