TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking members of the public to report freshwater turtles that appear sick, act strangely, or are dead, as wildlife officials study a virus infecting softshells, cooters, sliders, and common snapping turtles.
The disease, turtle fraservirus 1, or TFV1, formerly known as turtle bunyavirus, has been under review by the state since early 2018 and has been detected in Putnam, Lake, Seminole, Orange, Polk, Osceola, Brevard, Indian River, and Collier counties.
READ MORE: Massive Fire Causes Partial Roof Collapse At Fort Lauderdale Home
The first snapping turtle with TFV1 was found this year in southern Indian River County.
The commission said turtles might be sick if they appear sluggish, unresponsive, or reluctant to flee, stay in shallow water for prolonged periods of time, have eyes that appear sunken, swollen, crusty or cloudy, have reddened skin on their heads, necks, limbs or shell bottoms or are irregularly swimming, such as going in circles and being unable to submerge.
READ MORE: Customs And Border Protection Agents Rescue Four People From Boat In Danger Of Sinking
The commission issued an order in August that prohibited people from taking freshwater softshell turtle species or yellow-bellied sliders.
While there is no evidence that TFVI can infect humans or other wildlife, the commission advised people not to eat turtles acting strangely or that appear unhealthy.
MORE NEWS: Police Release Names Those Killed In Broward Transit Bus Shooting, Jamal Meyers Charged
(©2022 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)