The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation via Reuters
Officials examine a dead bottlenose dolphin on Aug. 9 that washed ashore on Long Island, N.Y.
Two more dolphins have turned up dead along New Jersey beaches.
Officials with the Brigantine-based Marine Mammal Stranding Center tell The Press of Atlantic City that the dolphins were found Saturday in Sea Girt and Brigantine. That brings the statewide total to 68 since July 9.
The deaths have been declared an "unusual mortality event" by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration due to the significant number of dolphins found between New York and Virginia.
See original report on NBCPhiladelphia.com
From New Jersey south to Virginia, more than 230 dolphin deaths have been reported. Although officials have said the dolphins appear to be dying from viral pneumonia, a precise cause is still unknown.
A bottlenose dolphin that washed up earlier this month tested positive for morbillivirus, but officials said it was too early to tell if that is the culprit in the other deaths.
"We're not saying that this is a morbillivirus outbreak," Teri Rowles, NOAA's national marine mammal stranding coordinator, said at the time. "But because of the size of it right now, everybody's making that link at this point. But that is not a confirmed diagnosis or cause of this event at this point."
First published August 25 2013, 8:32 PM