May 15, 2003


 Spring viremia of carp control program launched

Posted May 1, 2003

The Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has authorized approximately $11.7 million to implement a control and indemnity program for farm-raised carp in the United States affected by spring viremia. The funds will assist North Carolina and Virginia with epidemiology, surveillance, and an indemnification program.

Spring viremia of carp is an Office International des Epizooties notifiable disease, and the first cases of the disease in the United States were confirmed in North Carolina and Virginia in June 2002. These states have taken steps to prevent the spread of spring viremia, but the USDA-APHIS deems federal assistance necessary to effectively control the disease, which threatens fish health and the U.S. economy.

Spread of the disease may have trade implications that the USDA hopes to avoid with the control program. The total value of U.S. farm sales is roughly $21 million and, in 2001, the U.S. exports were worth $1.8 million. An outbreak in the United Kingdom in 2002 brought exportation to China to a halt for six months, costing the U.K. roughly $2.4 million.

In addition to indemnity payments, the funds will support program activities such as depopulation and disposal, cleanup and disinfection, national surveillance, epidemiology and diagnostic support, and training for producers and veterinarians.

Spring viremia of carp is a contagious viral fish disease, which is most often reported in varieties of common carp, including koi. Clinical signs include hemorrhaging of the skin, bulging eyes, abdominal swelling, and bloody mucus from the vent. The disease results in high mortality and morbidity, and infected fish can die 10 to 17 days after becoming diseased. Fish that manage to recover from the disease will still shed the virus, spreading it to other fish. The disease strikes primarily in the spring or fall.