Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC)
MAISRC research shows Great Lakes still vulnerable to VHS
New research from MAISRC scientists Nick Phelps and Luis Escobar show that conditions in the Great Lakes are still right for an outbreak of VHS, a deadly fish virus. By looking at data from where outbreaks had previously occurred, scientists were able to predict the environmental conditions where it could occur in the future.
The virus tends to prefer cool waters and areas without heavy vegetation. Although no significant die-off events have occurred in Lake Superior, this research reminds managers and recreationalists in the area to stay vigilant.
“The Great Lakes obviously cover a massive area, which makes it extremely difficult to monitor,” said Dr. Nick Phelps. “By creating models like this, we can direct resource managers toward the areas that are most at risk for infection.”
VHS causes internal and external bleeding, which leads to organ failure and death in infected fish hosts. It can spread among locations via connected waters, the transfer of infected fish, and contaminated water and gear. Learn more about this disease and read the paper, Potential distribution of the viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus in the Great Lakes region here.