Fish Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus Approach Epidemic Proportions


Researchers have confirmed that viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus, a deadly virus causing anemia and hemorrhaging in fish has spread to 19 other species and has already reached epidemic proportions.

Three new fish kills have occurred in 2007 in New York waters since the virus was identified in the Great Lakes Basin in 2005. In the St. Lawrence River, hundreds of thousands of round gobies have succumbed to the disease; gizzard shad die-offs from VHSV in Lake Ontario west of Rochester and in Dunkirk Harbor on Lake Erie also have been reported. Adding to concerns about the spread of the virus, walleye in Conesus Lake have tested positive for VHSV. Conesus is the westernmost Finger Lake and is the only New York lake where VHSV has been found in a body of water other than the contiguous waters of the Great Lakes.

Also this month the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources made a presumptive identification of the virus for the first time in the Lake Winnebago chain of inland lakes about 25 miles south of Green Bay on Lake Michigan; confirmation is pending. And millions of dead freshwater drum formed windrows of carcasses along the beaches of Lake Erie in 2006, all victims of VHSV.


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