LAKE ORION, Mich. (AP) — A virus is being blamed on the deaths of between 300 and 600 mostly adult common carp this summer in a Detroit-area lake.
An investigation has confirmed that the koi herpesvirus caused the fish kill in Lake Orion, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources said Friday.
People living along or near the lake, northwest of Detroit, began finding the dead fish in July. DNR fisheries division staff collected samples July 23 for analysis at the Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory at Michigan State University.
The koi herpesvirus only affects common carp, koi and goldfish, said Gary Whelan, DNR Fisheries Division Research Program manager.
“This is only the third detection of this non-native virus in Michigan waters, and it is known to kill large numbers of its host species at times,” Whelan said.
Viruses and bacteria that affect fish typically are not human pathogens due to the differences in body temperatures between fish and humans, according to the DNR.
Native to Europe, common carp were introduced to Michigan in the late 1870s-1880s as a food fish and now are found throughout the state.
The DNR said it strongly recommends that all freshwater fish should be fully cooked to ensure they are safe to consume.
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Featured image: Google map image of Lake Orion, Michigan