Back in October last year a dangerous virus was discovered. The virus affected fish, killing them. The bad news is that the virus was not stopped, and, worse than that, it managed to spread to two new lakes located in Michigan.
The virus is known as the largemouth bass virus and it was initially discovered in Iosco County, in Cedar Lake. Now it has been confirmed that the virus was also discovered in the Montmorency County, in Avalon Lake, and in Alpena Country in Beaver Lake.
“The largemouth bass virus likely compromised the immune system of smallmouth bass in Beaver Lake, causing secondary bacterial infections to become more lethal and allowed the virus to be a direct factor in the fish kill,” said Gary Whelan, the DNR Fisheries Division’s research manager.
The fact that the virus has spread is truly worrisome. In fact, there were no signs of this virus in Michigan for more than 15 years. This means that the virus is spreading northward. Largemouth bass from Michigan were affected back in the early 2000s.
“Because these latest detections are at the northern edge of where LMBV has been found, we may see different responses than what was documented in southern Michigan,” added Whelan. The outcome isn’t a promising one. If we take a look back at the 2000s, back then the virus managed to kill 10% to 20% of the adult largemouth bass from southern Michigan lakes and it took a couple of years for populations to recover.
The virus is also related to similar viruses that are found in amphibians and frogs. It is not known for sure how the virus spreads, but it is believed that anglers could be a way of transmitting the virus.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca