Aquatic Nuisance - VHS
Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)
Where did it come from?
- VHS virus is considered an invasive species, but scientists are not sure how the virus arrived in the United States. It may have come in with migrating fish from the Atlantic Coast, or may have hitch-hiked in ballast water from ship.
Where can it be found in South Dakota?
- It is not currently found in South Dakota, but it is as close as the Great Lakes Region.
What does it look like?
- VHS is a virus that affects fish. Physical symptoms found in fish are: Hemorrhaging (bleeding), bulging eyes, unusual behavior, anemia, bloated abdomens, rapid onset of death
Why is VHS a problem?
- People don't have to worry about catching and eating fish since VHS has never been found to affect humans. Though VHS is a threat to kill over 25 different fish species. This can in turn affect the food chain that fish and other animals thrive on, as well as diminish fish populations for recreational fishing.
How is VHS spread?
- Once a fish is infected, it can spread the virus through urine and reproductive fluids. The virus can survive in water for up to 14 days in which fish swim through the contaminated area where it will begin to affect their gill tissue first. The virus can also be spread by fish eating other fish.
Check out Aquatic Nuisance Species Prevention on ways to prevent the spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species