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Since July, over 100 sick or dead seals have been reported in Alaska. Signs of illness include hair loss, sores on the body, face or flippers. In some cases seals have been weak enough to approach. An international team of scientists from more than a dozen agencies and organizations are working to find out what is causing this situation. The public is being asked to help in reporting unusual seals. If you spot an unusual seal in the Bering Strait Region, contact the Eskimo Walrus Commission at 1-877-277-4392; the Marine Advisory Program at 1-800-478-2202; or NOAA's Alaska Stranding Hotline at 1-877-925-7773.
Until further information is available on the cause of this illness, please take the following precautions if you come into contact with an ill animal:
Do not eat it or feed it to animals
Fully cook any meat before eating it
Wash your hands thoroughly after contact
Wash your equipment, and rinse with a bleach/water solution
Again, if you spot an unusual seal in the Bering Strait Region, contact the Eskimo Walrus Commission at 1-877-277-4392; the Marine Advisory Program at 1-800-478-2202; or NOAA’s Alaska Stranding Hotline at 1-877-925-7773.
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