Deadly Fish Virus Now in All Great Lakes

ITHACA, N.Y., Jan. 28 (UPI) — Cornell University scientists say a deadly fish virus first discovered in the Northeastern United States in 2005 has spread across the Great Lakes.

The viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus — which is untreatable and causes fatal anemia and hemorrhaging in many fish species, but poses no threat to humans — has for the first time been found in fish taken from Lake Superior. That, said the researchers, means the virus has now been documented in all of the Great Lakes.

“People come from all over the eastern United States to fish the Great Lakes,” said Bowser, noting that the virus has also been found in a few inland waters as well, including lakes, streams and a family-owned earthen pond. “The economy of many of these areas ebbs and flows with the season and perceived value of outdoor recreational opportunities.”

No significant fish mortality due to VHSV has been observed and Bowser said scientists don’t fully understand the lack of recent mortality, but the potential presence or absence of stressors on the fish may be playing a role.

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Categorized | Ecosystems, Fish
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