Latest developments on Sea Star Wasting Disease (SSWD)

The Seattle Aquarium’s work on Sea Star Wasting Disease (SSWD) was recently featured in a segment on KING 5 News. Dr. Lesanna Lahner, staff veterinarian, is treating a group of sea stars showing signs of the disease with antibiotics to see if the medication helps the animals fight it off. The segment also received coverage on NBC’s national news.

Since the end of October 2013, when SSWD first began to appear in our local waters, the Seattle Aquarium has been actively collaborating with a variety of institutions—including the Vancouver Aquarium, SeaDoc Society, Cornell University, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the USGS National Wildlife Health Center—to respond to the ongoing unusual mortality event occurring in sea stars along the West Coast. The cause of the disease has yet to be determined.

For details on our work on this issue to date, please see our previous blog posts:

The Seattle Times also published an article in June that features the Seattle Aquarium and further describes the disease and its current and potential impacts in our local waters and elsewhere. A recent update provided by Dr. Lahner inspired a thoughtful donor to make a significant gift toward the next stage of research on the disease. Click here to contribute to our efforts to further understanding of this disease and its cause.

Interested in learning about the disease in person? Visit the Seattle Aquarium (where all affected sea star species have been removed from our exhibits) and speak to one of our interpreters; or talk to one of our volunteer Beach Naturalists this weekend—they’ll be stationed at a number of our local beaches. Click here for a schedule, locations and directions.

Looking for other ways to make a difference?

Research on SSWD is just one of the Seattle Aquarium’s many research efforts. For information about our other projects, read our most recent research annual report, or visit the research page on our website.

Follow us on Twitter for more updates on SSWD as they emerge. We’ll also continue to update our blog and social media with details about the efforts to determine the cause of the disease.


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