A parvovirus, known as SSaDV, is now thought to be the cause of the ongoing, massive die-off of Pacific Coast starfish. Although the virus is not new to the environment, specimens dating to 1942 exhibit the pathogen, it is thought factors such as viral mutation, environmental change, or starfish overpopulation have created the current situation. The Oregonain and Reuters have complementary articles:
http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2014/11/sea_star_wasting_on_pacific_co.html#incart_river
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/17/us-science-starfish-idUSKCN0J129K20141117

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