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Ontario Carp Killed by Mysterious Herpes

CANADA - Scientists at the University of Guelph shed light on a strain of herpes that was killing off carp in central Ontario lakes, but how far will the Koi herpes virus (KHV) spread.

Grand River Conservation Authority is on the alert, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources said there is no threat to human health from the virus.

"As to whether the carp die-off could hit the waters around Guelph, the short answer is, we can't predict that," ministry spokesperson Rick Winston told Guelph Mercury. There was a similar die-off last year in the Kawartha Lakes area from the columnaris virus, but the species has made a strong recovery, the news agency reports.

"We are not aware, on our properties, of any carp die-offs or anything like that this year," said Dave Schultz, GRCA manager of communications. "Obviously our aquatics people are paying close attention to this. It's part of their normal business. But until something happens, you just carry on."

U of G researchers identified KHV last year, and the finding was confirmed by federal laboratories. The virus is an infectious disease affecting carp, koi and goldfish. It is believed it was introduced into the wild carp population through the hobby-fish trade, perhaps through the release of infected koi or goldfish into streams or lakes, or the disposal of sick or dead hobby fish by flushing them down toilets.