A recent die-off of salamanders in Utah has prompted USGS wildlife health officials to issue an October 21, 1998 wildlife health alert. The incident followed salamander die-offs earlier this summer in Maine and North Dakota. In all three cases a virus is believed to be responsible. The Utah event occurred in early September at Lake Desolation located east of Salt Lake City. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists reported finding about 200 tiger salamander carcasses littering the shoreline and lake bottom. Salamanders that were still alive appeared lethargic, swam in circles and were unable to remain upright. The sick salamanders also had red spots and swollen areas on the skin. A small number of seemingly healthy salamanders were also observed, but quickly swam into deeper water. No other species appeared to be affected.
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