Carp virus discovered in upper Mississippi River

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118409382512250.jpg’, ‘Photo courteysy of Alderman‘, ‘Carp virus in European carp show characteristics of hemorrhagic skin, swollen stomach and exophthalmus (“pop eye”). ‘);

Spring viremia of carp, a virus that affects many species of carp, has been discovered in the Mississippi River near Dresbach, Minn., the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports. Baitfish species such as shiners and fathead minnows are also believed to be susceptible to this virus, and northern pike have been experimentally infected with it in the laboratory.

Late in the week of May 7, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s La Crosse, Wis., Fish Health Center received reports of a carp kill in Pool 8 of the upper Mississippi River, below Lock and Dam 7 in Dresbach. Service biologists were not able to sample fish immediately because recovery operations were under way following a fatal boating accident.

May 24, Service biologists from the La Crosse Fishery Resources Office and La Crosse Fish Health Center returned to the area and began electroshocking to collect fish for health screening. By June 8, one of the pooled samples had tested positive for the spring viremia of carp virus, or SVCV.

Since the pathogen that causes SVCV is a reportable pathogen as designated by the OIE, the World Organization for Animal Health, samples were sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service lab in Ames, Iowa, for confirmation. June 28, APHIS informed the La Crosse Fish Health Center that it had confirmed SVCV.

SVCV is not transmitted to humans and poses no human health risk. This is the first case of this virus discovered in the upper Mississippi River. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists collected fish from both Minnesota and Wisconsin waters below Lock and Dam 7.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 97 million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

from the July 11-17, 2007, issue

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