Brown trout (Credit: Steve motzkus, via Wikimedia Commons)
A strange virus has spread amongst Wisconsin’s trout population and puzzled state officials, the Great Lakes Echo reported.
Fish from two Wisconsin hatcheries tested positive for the cutthroat trout virus, which resembles the one responsible for hepatitis E in humans. State natural resource officials released 270,000 brown trout this year from the virus-infected hatcheries, in addition to 160,000 released last year prior to receiving the test results. Officials say they do not know how many trout are carrying the virus.
The cutthroat virus seems to have no impact on the brown trout, and no ability to spread to mammals. However, more research is needed to determine if the virus can spread to other cold-blooded animals.
Officials remain unsure as to how the virus initially entered the state. Fish health specialist Susan Mercquenski speculated that the virus may have spread by people moving fish and fish eggs, or by birds dropping fish into the state’s hatcheries.
Image: Brown trout (Credit: Steve motzkus, via Wikimedia Commons)