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VHS Surveillance Study

Since the initial 2005 discovery of the Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia virus (VHSv) in the Great Lakes region, the virus has persisted and continued to spread.  VHS is a disease that causes hemorrhaging, anemia, and eventual organ failure in susceptible fish.  The severity of the clinical signs and potential mortality events are highly variable among species, seasons, and locations.  Although the long-term impact of this disease is not fully understood, we do know that preventing the spread is critical to the maintenance and growth of our aquaculture, and commercial and sport fishing industries.

To reduce the potential spread of VHS within Minnesota and meet the new regulatory requirements, a state sponsored (Minnesota Rapid Agriculture Response Fund) surveillance program will test 50 water bodies each year in 2010 and 2011, free of charge to the industry.  This survey will inform epidemiologists and managers on the extent of the disease, better preparing them for the arrival of VHS.  In addition, by targeting waters frequented by the aquaculture producers and wild baitfish harvesters, the survey will provide the required testing to move fish intrastate for many of the popular waterbodies.

Results from each site will be public information and posted on this website when available.  Sixty fish from each site will be tested by the current gold standard, virus isolation (30 day turn-around), and qRT-PCR (1 week turn-around).  Collections must be arranged with the nearest veterinarian (see approved Fish Health Collector list) or the MN DNR Pathology Lab.  Due to the busy spring baitfish season, it is recommended to arrange a collection time as early as possible.  Fish must arrive to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory on a M, Tu, or W for testing.  Pending negative results, the VHS certification for each waterbody will be recognized for 1 year from the collection date.

Please check back frequently, as this website will be current with proposed testing sites and results.

Questions?  Let us know!

Nick Phelps
University of Minnesota – Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
(612) 624-7450

Ling Shen
MN DNR – Pathology Laboratory
(651) 259-5096

Related Links

2013 VHS Surveillance Sites and Results

2011 VHS Surveillance Sites and Results

2010 VHS Surveillance Sites and Results

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