Facts about spring viraemia of carp
- disease only occurs in the freshwater environment
- outbreaks in ponds with common carp occur when water temperatures begin to rise in the spring
- signs of disease occur when the water temperature is between 5°C and 10°C
- mortality is most noticeable when the water temperature is between 11°C and 17°C
- younger finfish are more affected than older finfish
- Carp sprivivirus can survive in the mud of an earthen pond for more than a month
- where this disease occurs in wild finfish populations outside of Ontario
- how susceptible are northern pike to this disease
Spring viraemia of carp (SVC) is an infectious disease of some freshwater finfish. It is caused by a virus called Carp sprivivirus, formerly known as spring viraemia of carp virus, which belongs to the family Rhabdoviridae.
Spring viraemia of carp is not a risk to human health, nor is it a food safety issue.
In Canada, SVC is a reportable aquatic animal disease. If you own or work with finfish and suspect or detect SVC, you must let the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) know. Here's how:
- Notification of reportable diseases by aquaculturists
- Notification of reportable diseases by veterinarians
- Notification of reportable and immediately notifiable diseases by researchers
Spring viraemia of carp in Canada
In Canada, the virus has been found in wild common carp in Ontario.
The agency is currently conducting surveillance activities to determine how widespread the disease is in wild carp populations in Canada.
For dates and locations (provinces/territories) of CFIA-confirmed cases of the disease, see Federally reportable aquatic animal diseases in Canada.
Species of finfish that can be infected
Freshwater species of finfish that can become infected with Carp sprivivirus are:
- Abramis brama (common bream)
- Carassius auratus (goldfish)
- Ctenopharyngodon idella (grass carp)
- Cyprinus carpio (common carp)
- Danio rerio (zebra danio)
- Esox lucius (northern pike)
- Hypophthalmichthys molitrix (silver carp)
- Hypophthalmichthys nobilis (bighead carp)
- Notemigonus crysoleucas (golden shiner)
- Pimephales promelas (fathead minnow)
- Percocypris pingi (no common name)
- Rutilus kutum (Caspian white fish)
- Rutilus rutilus (roach)
- Silurus glanis (wels catfish)
Signs of spring viraemia of carp
SVC is a cause of death in hatched finfish. Typically less than 30 percent of infected animals will die, but the death rate can range from 5 percent to 100 percent.
Affected finfish may exhibit any of the following signs:
- fish lying on their sides, often at the bottom of the tank
- fish congregating where water flow is slow and near the sides of ponds
- dark skin colour
- bulging eyes
- pale gills with or without areas of bleeding
- areas of bleeding in the skin, eyes, anal vent and at the base of fins
- swollen belly
- enlarged anal vent
- feces trailing from the anal vent
- bloody fluid in the abdominal cavity
- inflamed, bleeding or swollen spleen, kidney, intestines and air bladder
- areas of pinpoint bleeding in the fatty tissue surrounding organs, stomach wall and muscles
- empty intestine that may contain mucus
Managing spring viraemia of carp
There are no treatment options currently available for SVC.
Finfish may contract the virus through contact with the discharged bodily wastes or mucus secretions from infected finfish. It can also spread as a result of water that has been contaminated with the virus.
People can spread the virus to other finfish by moving infected live or dead finfish, using contaminated equipment, vehicles and vessels, or using or moving contaminated water.
You can prevent the introduction of Carp sprivivirus into your farm and prevent the spread of the virus within your farm by using specific safety practices. You can find out more about what practices you need to consider by visiting Aquatic animal biosecurity. Talk to your veterinarian about what practices are most effective for the management of this disease for your farm.
There is no vaccine approved in Canada against SVC. Talk to your veterinarian about whether a vaccine approved in another country can be an effective tool to manage this disease on your farm.
CFIA's initial response to a notification
When you notify a CFIA veterinary inspector of the possible presence of SVC in your finfish, we will launch an investigation, which could include an inspection of your facility.
We will note all relevant information you can provide, such as species affected, life stage affected, signs of illness in the animals, presence of any other diseases and water temperature.
At the same time, we will collect samples for testing at one of Canada's three National Aquatic Animal Health Laboratories.
We evaluate all the collected information and test results to confirm the presence of SVC on the farm.
The agency also confirms the presence of SVC in wild finfish. The agency receives notifications from provincial staff who have investigated a wild fish death event.
CFIA's response once the disease is confirmed
Further disease response measures include a tracing investigation to help us figure out how the disease entered your farm and if other farms could have been affected. An evaluation of the risk your farm poses to wild fisheries will also be carried out. If you are considering eradication of the disease from your finfish, we can provide you with advice on how to safely remove the disease from your farm.
How do I get more information
For more information about reportable diseases, visit the Aquatic Animal Health page, contact your local CFIA Animal Health Office, or your CFIA Area office:
- Atlantic: 506-777-3939
- Quebec: 514-283-8888
- Ontario: 226-217-8555
- West: 587-230-2200
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