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VHSV Found in Lake Superior

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) was recently documented in Lake Superior by two separate discoveries. Cornell University researchers Paul Bowser, Jim Casey and others using their highly sensitive technique referred to as qRT-PCR found VHSV in fish collected from three locations in Lake Superior. VHSV-positive fish were found in eastern Lake Superior near Paradise, Michigan, in central Lake Superior near Skanee, Michigan, and at the westernmost end of the lake in the Duluth-Superior Harbor. The fish were collected in spring 2009 and analyzed later in the year. Identification of VHSV in samples was then confirmed by the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center, Seattle, Washington, using a similar qRT-PCR technique and the findings were announced in January 2010.

VHSV was also detected by Mohamed Faisal, a Michigan State University researcher, in ciscoes (formerly lake herring) that were collected from the Apostle Islands area of Lake Superior in December 2009. This was the first time VHSV was detected in cisco and the first time the virus was isolated by using tissue culture for a Lake Superior fish. Tissue culture is the USDA APHIS standard for confirming VHSV in fish.

Many anglers and biologists wonder how damaging VHSV might be to Minnesota's fisheries and how likely is it to spread throughout the inland waters of the state. Information about the virus, its symptoms, how it spreads and what it means for Minnesota fisheries and inland waters can be found at www.seagrant.umn.edu/fisheries/vhsv.

Posted on January 28, 2010

This page last modified on March 18, 2010     © 1996 – 2020 Regents of the University of Minnesota     The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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