Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Koi Herpes Virus (KHV) Outbreak

On Fishupdate.com there's news of an outbreak of Koi Herpes Virus (KHV) in three separate fisheries in southern England. This highly contagious disease is being investigated by the Environment Agency and CEFAS (the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science). These are the first mortalities recorded this year, and could have something do with the hot spells we've had recently. The disease is spread from fish to fish but can go unnoticed until water temperatures increase, deaths occurring between 18-27C. Whilst the outbreak is contained the implications for koi keepers is to only buy koi from trusted sources. If your koi pond has never reached 18C ,which is possible in some places, your koi could be carriers without you ever knowing. This places responsibility on all koi keepers to avoid spreading the disease however likely this may be. Fishupdate goes on to say ;

Pending the possible control of the disease under new measures in the final stages of negotiation in the EU, those in the industry responsible for importing fish species susceptible to KHV should make every effort to identify healthy, disease free sources of stock.

Without regulations as yet to report the disease, the responsibility is placed on breeders, importers and koi dealers to eliminate the disease and inform the public. Many good koi dealers do isolate new fish and through quarantine periods try to kill off the virus and bring out any symtoms in case they are carriers, by a process of heating and lowering water temperatures. This does work but there is no known cure yet for KHV and so regular testing is needed .Without scaring everyone, once your fish are infected it can kill over 50% of your koi and the ones that survive become potential carriers. Like bird flu the chances are small but why take chances with your beloved koi. Always buy from a reputable koi dealer, who knows where the koi have come from and proves the quarantine procedures. It should go without saying that you always quarantine any new koi at home as well before introducing them to your pond.

What is needed is a reliable form of testing to identify and prove disease free koi and better informed koi keepers. The AKCA the Associated Koi Clubs Of America have a new website investigating KHV called Project KHV and all donations go to KHV research.



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