Highly Contagious Fish Virus Now Spreading Across Europe

Highly Contagious Fish Virus Now Spreading Across Europe

While Canada struggles with an influx of goldfish, in Europe koi and carp, relatives of the goldfish, are under serious threat from a disease experts say is spreading rapidly.

Carp Edema Virus, known commonly as koi sleepy disease (KSD) is highly infectious and has recently been found to have spread from Asia to Europe.

Tending to be most infectious in the spring, KSD sends fish to the bottom of rivers, lakes and ponds where they become lethargic, with their eyes sunken, skin flaking and eventually die from not being able to breathe due to swollen gills.

Virologists know very little about the disease other than it originated in Asia, is similar to small-pox and yet not a danger to humans. There are fears KSD could spread to other fish species, with some scientists calling for immediate international action.

Scientists and other experts will be holding a special session on KSD at the European Association of Fish Pathologists annual general meeting in September, where they will examine measures to control the spread. American Fish and Wildlife officer will also be present at the meeting to better understand the disease and ensure it remains isolated from American fish stocks.

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