Marine Science in the News: Bacteria in California Sea Lions

A contagious bacteria is affecting California Sea Lions in Monterey County. As of the end of October the Marine Mammal Center confirmed that 24 sea lions tested positive for leptospirosis, a contagious bacterial infection that can result in kidney damage and renal failure. 

While the cause of the outbreak is unknown, there have been cyclical outbreaks of 4-5 years since the 1970s. The Marine Mammal Center and UCLA scientists are working to study the pathogen and what is causing it.

If you see a sick sea lion on the beach do not approach it. Dogs and humans are at risk because the bacteria is spread through urine.

What to look for: Infected mammals include drinking water and folding their flippers over their abdomen. Sea lions do not typically drink water.

What to do if you see an infected sea lion: Report it to the Marine Mammal Center at 415-289-7325.

Tags: California sea lions bacteria marine mammals Monterey

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us

Subscribe for Updates


500 Discovery Parkway

Redwood City, CA 94063

Tel: 650-364-2760

Click here for directions

facebook fish logo.png
Twitter fish logo.png

Marine Science Institute is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) not for profit organization. Federal Tax ID# 94-1719649

© 2020 All Rights Reserved  

Inspiring respect and stewardship for the marine environment through experiential learning

Thank you to our generous supporters who donated more than $25,000
westpoint harbor
Bohannon Foundation
Morgan Fam Fdn
HSF_logo_horiz_RGB_large crop 4