Conserving the Nature of America

News Release

Carp Virus Discovered in Upper Mississippi River

June 29, 2007


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

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 Services 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 underway following a fatal boating accident.

On 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. On 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.

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