Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia
Testing has confirmed a deadly disease among fish in Lake Erie following an outbreak of a the virus in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Relatively common in continental Europe and Japan, viral hemorrhagic septicemia causes internal bleeding in fish but is believed to pose no threat to humans.
The virus has now been confirmed in eastern Lake Erie as well as in Conesus Lake in western New York, where small groups of dead fish washed up on shore. The virus was first confirmed in New York in May 2006, linked to the death of thousands of fish in eastern Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence, including many round gobies and some muskellunge.
The virus has been found in burbot, smallmouth bass, pumpkinseed, rock bass, bluntnose minnow and emerald shiner in infected New York waters, though it was not clear whether this virus strain will affect trout and salmon. The DEC warned against bringing fish from one lake to another, noting it's illegal without a permit, and bait fish should be used only in the water they came from.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibited importing from Ontario and Quebec and interstate movement of live fish from eight states bordering the Great Lakes, including New York, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.