Wednesday, June 2, 2010


A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

[1] West Virginia
Date: 27 May 2010
Source: Metro News: the voice of West Virginia [edited]

Fish Kill at Stonewall Jackson Lake has Strange Characteristics
Biologists with the West Virginia DNR [Department of Natural
Resources] say it's hard to say at this point what has caused more
than a thousand fish to die over the last 4 days at Stonewall Jackson
Lake. The DNR got a call from an angler fishing in the Jacksonville
area of the lake about seeing several dead fish. Investigators arrived
and have now estimated more than a thousand fish have died.

The unusual part of the incident is that 99-percent are crappie.
Biologist Kevin Yokum says a few small bass and a handful of bluegill
are among the casualties, but the biggest number of the fish are

"Normally in a spill, a pollutant, or a toxin in the water kills fish
very quickly, it's indiscriminate, it kills all species and all sizes
and it happens during a short period of time," Yokum explained. "What
we've seen here is a kill that has occurred over 4 or 5 days hitting a
single species. It's very unusual in that nature."

Yokum notes many of the dead fish had lesions on their bodies. He says
that's typically evidence of a virus, bacterial infection, or a
fungus. However, that's not necessarily the cause. "It's very
difficult to analyze whether that was the cause of the kill or
something that happened after the fish was in distress," Yokum said.

Samples of the fish have been sent to the U.S. Geological Survey Lab
in Leetown, West Virginia, and to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Fish Health Lab in Lamar, Pennsylvania. There fish pathologists will
be working to determine if the fish were infected by any fatal
epidemic. Yokum and his staff also collected water quality samples
upon arrival. Those tests are pending with the WV DEP and U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, but the preliminary findings are that the water
was fine.

"Our initial dissolved oxygen temperature and all of the routine tests
showed no abnormalities whatsoever," Yokum said. "Stressors come in
all forms and factors. At this time of year crappie and bluegill are
coming off the spawn, so you have a lot of post-spawn stressors that
are involved. A quick increase in water temperature can in fact cause
a fish kill. That's happened in states around us."

Yokum says there's no record from the Corps that would indicate a
quick increase in water temperature, but at this point he's ruling
nothing out. He believes the fish kill will likely last another day
before it's over.

Communicated by:
HealthMap Alerts via ProMED-mail

[Most viruses, fungus, and bacteria generally attack more than one
variety of fish. The exception may be Koi herpes virus, which
primarily attacks carp (_Cyprinus_ spp.), but the crappie are
_Pomoxis_ spp.

We look forward to an official report when all the necropsies and
analyses have been completed. - Mod.TG]

[2] Ohio-Pennsylvania border
Date: 28 May 2010
Source: [edited]

Pymatuning fish kill brings consumption warning
A warning was issued Thursday [27 May 2010] that people should not eat
fish caught from Pymatuning Reservoir on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border
after a large fish die-off over the past week.

Dead fish began to turn up 15 May 2010 on the south end of
Pennsylvania's portion of the sprawling 16 349-acre reservoir. In
recent days, southeast winds have scattered the dead fish to various
locations of Pymatuning Reservoir, including the Ohio shoreline.

The fish kill and advisories will jeopardize one of the lake's busiest
holidays of the year, with crowds expected for the Memorial Day
weekend. In addition to many marinas and resorts, Pennsylvania and
Ohio state parks border the lake, the largest inland reservoir in the

Ohio wildlife officer Jason Hadsell, who covers Ashtabula County, said
Thursday [27 May 2010] that while there were dead muskies, walleye and
bass involved, the majority of the dead fish were crappies. Water
samples have been collected and are being tested at the Department of
Environmental Protection. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is
testing samples of fish and issued the "Do Not Eat" consumption
advisory. Pennsylvania and Ohio officials may also close swimming
beaches for the popular Memorial Day weekend.

"Fish Kills like this have happened in the past," said Russ Williams
of Gateway Bait and Tackle in Andover, Ohio, a popular local bait
shop. "They've usually been caused by someone spraying chemicals along
the shoreline."
[Byline: D'Arcy Egan]

Communicated by:
HealthMap Alerts via ProMED-mail

[This fish die-off is very much like the die-off in the 1st article.
While a few other species are affected, it seems that crappie
(_Pomoxis_ sp.) are the primary targets.

Perhaps the appropriate agencies of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West
Virgina should compare notes and necropsy findings on these die-offs.
We look forward to an authoritative report regarding the etiological
agent. - Mod.TG]

[The interactive HealthMap/ProMED maps are available at:
West Virginia:
- CopyEd.EJP]

[Crappie (_Pomoxis_ sp.) are among the best-tasting freshwater fish.
See image:

- Mod.JW]

[see also:
Undiagnosed fish die-off - USA: (NJ) koi herpesvirus susp. 20100528.1773
Fish die-off - USA: (VA) 20090612.2169
Undiagnosed fish die-off - USA (WA): botulism susp. 20060621.1709
Fish die-off - USA (PA) (03) 20050907.2661
Fish die-off - USA (PA)(03) 20050816.2402
Fish die-off - USA (PA)(02) 20050811.2342
Fish die-off - USA (PA) 20050809.2325
Fish die-off - USA (VA) 20040913.2549]
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