No, not the magic milkyway variety… that would make far more sense. This gruesome virus actually reduces our lovely little sea stars to blobs of white goo. For real. It’s down to a virus that weakens the animal, meaning it’s susceptible to bacterial infection, where about a week to two weeks after this viral infection, white lesions appear all over the star and it becomes lethargic.
Weird fact: sometimes the animals arms actually rip themselves off, and crawl away.
Eventually the star “melts” to a pile of slime.
Although this virus has been around for 70 years, there is some mysterious trigger that has causes a huge outbreak all the way from Alaska to California, and it’s now affecting many more species than before.
How on earth can we stop this virus? It cannot be quarantined, culling wouldn’t be effective, and we can’t vaccinate a virus. The best we can hope for is that the balance of hosts and pathogens will wind down and eventually the epidemic will die out.
Full paper here: http://www.pnas.org/content/111/48/17278.abstract