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ISA Introduced in Chile in Mid 1990s

Salmonids Biosecurity +1 more

CHILE - ISA may have been lurking in Chilean waters for years, say researchers.

According to a report from ThePatagoniaTimes, a group of Canadian researchers suspect that Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA), a highly contagious fish virus that has pummeled Chile’s farmed salmon industry the past two years, was introduced here as far back as the mid 1990s.

In the latest issue of Virology Journal, Fred Kibenge, a virology professor at Canada’s University of Prince Edward Island, hypothesizes that ISA was transported from Norway to Chile in 1996, reports the news organisation. He and his colleagues also concluded that the current outbreak, which first gained attention in mid 2007, likely began two years earlier.

ISA, which can be lethal to fish but does not affect humans, has caused nightmare problems for Chile’s once booming farmed salmon industry. An ongoing outbreak has forced the closure of numerous salmon farms and several processing facilities. As a result, companies have laid off thousands of workers in the salmon farming south – specifically in Regions X and XI.