Talk about sucking the life out of a good myth.
Scientists last month confirmed that oysters, long rumored to be aquatic aphrodisiacs, are contracting herpes, and the disease is killing them in great numbers, National Geographic now reports.
Deadly and incurable, the virus has been ravaging oyster communities near the coast of the U.K., killing off the Pacific variety of the shellfish.
While not contagious to humans and apparently only able to infect the Pacific strain of oysters, the disease now threatens the Pacific oyster industry off the English coast, Treehugger adds.
The cause, according to the National Geographic, could actually be related to global warming. The herpes strain infecting the oysters is only active in waters above a certain temperature, and remains dormant otherwise. As global water temperatures rise, new breeding grounds for the herpes virus appear.
Herpes in mollusks has been known about for years. The recent strain, first detected in France in 2008, is more virulent and deadly because it attacks young oysters in their breeding phase, when they have reduced immune defenses.
Yes, this is a real story, not altered in any way.