Hundreds Of Fish Have Died From Herpes, Report Says

by : Cameron Frew on : 18 Sep 2021 17:21
Hundreds Of Fish Died From Herpes, Report SaysAlamy

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.

Carp fish (Pixabay)Pixabay

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.’

Around 300-600 carp died in Lake Orion this summer. (Alamy)Alamy

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.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Most Read StoriesMost Read


Toys R Us Is Returning Four Years After Going Bust

Cameron Frew

Entertainment Editor at UNILAD. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best film ever made, and Warrior is better than Rocky. That's all you need to know.

Topics: Animals, fish, Michigan, News, Now, US


Detroit Free Press
  1. Detroit Free Press

    Hundreds of fish in Lake Orion died from herpes, Michigan DNR says