Screening for VHS in Minnesota waters

Project manager: Nicholas Phelps

Description: Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) is a highly contagious virus that kills 34 species of Great Lakes fishes. Like other invasive species, it is non-native and was introduced to the area, it moves through different ecosystems with ease, and it has the potential to cause great ecological and economic harm. Unlike other invasive species, it's a pathogen that has the ability to travel through water independent of its host and can therefore be very difficult to monitor. VHS can cause high mortality rates in both farmed and wild fish populations, making it of great concern to aquaculturists and recreationalists alike.

MAISRC researchers have been conducting surveillance and risk assessment projects to help further understand VHS's effects on Minnesota. Through surveillance work, Phelps and his team can establish where the virus can and can't currently be found. Luckily, VHSV has not yet been found in inland waters of Minnesota. However, by conducting a risk assessment, they can identify places in Minnesota where the virus is most likely to appear, which can help prioritize management and control efforts. Risk is determined through a variety of factors, such as connectivity to infected waters, conducive water temperatures, linear distance to infected waters, and nearby boater movement.

Project start date: 2013

Project end date: 2014

Updates and progress: