Hundreds Of Fish Have Died From Herpes, Report Says
Hundreds of fish in Michigan mysteriously died earlier this summer. The cause of death has now been revealed: herpes.
Most people know herpes as a common STI, causing outbreaks of sores in different areas around the body. However, variations of the disease can spread among other animals; in this case, fish have been impacted by Koi herpesvirus, which affects all varieties of common and ornamental carp species.
Over in Lake Orion, authorities were initially left befuddled by the spate of carp deaths. However, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has tied the mass die-off to herpes.
People first reported common carp deaths back in July, prompting the Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory at Michigan State University and DNR researchers to come down and collect samples, hoping to identify the cause.
Gary Whelan, program director for the Michigan DNR Fisheries Division, explained it’s likely herpes began to spread among the carp after a local citizen released a contagious pet goldfish or koi into the lake, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Around 300 to 600 common carp died as a result of herpes, according to Cleyo Harris, a fisheries biologist with the DNR, branding it a ‘substantial mortality event for a single species.’
Harris also explained how the carp would have caught the disease rather quickly, as it spreads through excretion or epidermis and gills. ‘If you’re in the neighbourhood, you get infected,’ he said, urging people to not release live or dead fish into lakes for risk of causing a similar deadly event.
If you’re looking to safely dispose of a goldfish, be it alive or dead, Whelan said you can put them in the freezer to euthanise them – although I’d probably distance myself from someone who chucked their pet fish in the freezer, personally.
The UK government issued a release on the Koi herpesvirus earlier this year, assuring there is no risk to public health.
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CreditsDetroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press