An investigation reveals that hundreds of carp died from a herpes outbreak in a single lake.
A herpes outbreak killed hundreds of carp in Lake Orion this summer, according to a Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) report released last week. Officials reassured people that the outbreak is not harmful to humans or other animals.
In July, between 300 and 600 adult carp were discovered dead in Lake Orion, according to a public statement made by the DNR on September 17. The deaths, which were brought to the DNR’s attention by locals, prompted the DNR to collect samples and conduct an investigation in collaboration with Michigan State University’s Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory.
The fish were killed by a koi herpesvirus epidemic, which was discovered last week.
According to Australia’s Center for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS) on the website PestSmart, koi herpesvirus is a highly contagious, water-borne virus.
According to CISS, once a fish is infected with the virus, the virus replicates in the fish for roughly seven days (depending on the water temperature). “The fish feeds and appears normal during this time.”
However, if a carp shows signs of the disease, it only takes 24 hours for the fish to die.
The virus is distributed by gills as well as feces, according to Gary Whelan, program director for the Michigan DNR Fisheries Division.
“You become infected if you’re in the neighborhood,” Whelan explained.
According to Whelan, the virus most likely spread as a result of someone releasing a pet goldfish or koi into the lake.
Despite the fact that the outbreak was severe enough to kill hundreds of carp, Whelan informed residents in a public statement released by the DNR that the koi herpesvirus poses no harm to humans or other creatures.
“KHV, like most herpesviruses, is highly particular about which fish species it infects, and it exclusively affects common carp, koi, and goldfish,” he explained. “This is only the third time this non-native virus has been found in Michigan waters, and it has been known to kill huge numbers of its host species on occasion. KHV has little effect on other fish species and has no consequences for birds, animals, or humans.”
Nonetheless, the DNR advises that individuals use proper techniques while cooking and eating fish obtained in the lake. This is a condensed version of the information.