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Workers unwittingly spread fish infection known as whirling disease

CUMBERLAND, MARYLAND - State fishery workers unwittingly spread a fatal fish illness by moving diseased fish from one facility to another, officials said.

The state Department of Natural Resources previously said the parasite that causes whirling disease, which is fatal to some trout, might have been spread by mud on the feet of birds or bears.

The agency's discovery of the parasite at rearing stations in Garrett County in January prompted the destruction of more than 80,000 rainbow and brown trout that had been earmarked for stocking this spring in Maryland lakes and streams.

The DNR said it has replaced those fish with trout purchased from private hatcheries.

"We view this as a very serious situation in Maryland," DNR Fisheries Director Howard King said Monday. "Rest assured that we will remain vigilant."

Source: Santa Barbara News-Press

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