Following the outbreak of Oyster herpesvirus-1 microvariant (OsHV-1 µvar) reported on the north Kent coast in September 2015, a recent investigation has confirmed the presence of the virus in wild Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) on the north east coast of Kent, resulting in an amendment to the control area to prevent the spread of infection.
There are no implications for human health. The virus only affects Pacific oysters.
OsHV-1 µvar is a virulent viral disease affecting the Pacific oyster, also known as the rock or cupped oyster. This is the only species of shellfish that is currently known to be susceptible to this virus.
The virus is notifiable under the Aquatic Animal Health (England & Wales) Regulations 2009. Where notifiable diseases are suspected or confirmed disease control measures are applied in the form of a designation notice to movements of live and dead aquatic animals, (including their eggs and/or gametes) and to certain site activities. The purpose of the movement controls is to restrict the spread of the disease to other parts of the coast
Existing statutory controls for OsHV-1 µVar in the area have been reviewed and the pre-existing control area has again been extended. Consequently, Confirmed Designation Notice CD14/2015 has been withdrawn and replaced by one new designation notice CD21/2015, which now controls the movements of live Pacific oysters into and out of the area. You must apply to the Fish Health Inspectorate if you want to move any live Pacific oysters into or out of the designated area.
In addition England and Wales continues to have OsHV-1µVar control areas in Essex and Poole Harbour, Dorset.
Anyone who imports, farms, depurates and fishes for Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) should take precautions to prevent the spread of OsHV-1 µvar.
You must notify the FHI immediately if you know of or suspect the presence of Oyster herpesvirus-1 microvariant (OsHV-1 µvar), and to report increased or unusual mortalities in Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas)