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US Biologists Declares “Unusual Mortality Event” in Deaths of Nearly 300 Ice Seals Off Alaska’s Northwest Coast

The cause of the deaths is not known

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US, Biologists, Mortality
FILE - A dead seal is found on a beach near Kotzebue, Alaska, in this May 24, 2019, photo provided by the National Park Service. VOA

U.S. marine mammal biologists have declared an “unusual mortality event” in the deaths of nearly 300 ice seals off Alaska’s northwest coast. US

The cause of the deaths is not known.

The fisheries arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the declaration covers ringed, bearded and spotted seals. All three types of seals use sea ice in varying ways.

NOAA Fisheries has received reports of 282 dead seals in the Bering and Chukchi seas since June 1, 2018.

US, Biologists, Mortality
U.S. marine mammal biologists have declared an “unusual mortality event” in the deaths of nearly 300 ice seals off Alaska’s northwest coast. Pixabay

That’s nearly five times the average number of reported seal strandings.

The deaths have mostly occurred from June to September in both years.

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Declaration of an unusual mortality event allows the agency to use more resources to investigate the deaths. (VOA)

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US: Infections from Three Sexually Transmitted Diseases Hit New Highs for Fifth Consecutive Year

The infection rate rose 3 percent from 2017

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US, Infections, Sexually
FILE - A billboard above a gas station, April 1, 2016, promotes testing for sexually transmitted diseases. VOA

U.S. infections from three sexually transmitted diseases have risen for the fifth consecutive year. US.

More than 1.7 million cases of chlamydia (kluh-MID’-ee-uh) were reported last year. The infection rate rose 3 percent from 2017.

It’s the most ever reported in a year, though the trend is mainly attributed to increased testing.

About 580,000 gonorrhea (gah-nuh-REE’-uh) cases were reported. That’s the highest number since 1991. The rate rose 5 percent. Scientists worry antibiotic resistance may be a factor.

US, Infections, Sexually
More than 1.7 million cases of chlamydia (kluh-MID’-ee-uh) were reported last year. Pixabay

And the syphilis rate rose 15 percent. About 35,000 cases of the most contagious forms of the disease were reported — also the most since 1991.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the numbers Tuesday.

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The increases coincided with public health funding cuts and clinic closures. (VOA)