Fish Whirling Disease
Found In Wyoming
From Patricia Doyle, PhD

Hello, Jeff - Just as Chronic Wasting Disease is spreading to new areas of the Country, so too, is Whirling Disease which affects trout. Whirling Disease has now been found in the Clark's Fork River, east of Yellowstone National Park, for the first time.
Whirling Disease Detected In Clark's Fork River
From ProMED-mail Source Casper Star Tribune 2-26-3
The parasite that causes whirling disease has been detected in trout in the Clark's Fork River east of Yellowstone National Park for the first time.
Trout from Bennett Creek, which empties into the river below a fish hatchery near Clark, and the Clark's Fork itself tested positive for the disease when sampled in October, Game and Fish Department biologist Jason Burkhart said.
The disease was not present in the hatchery, which is fed by springs, but authorities said it was difficult to predict what long-term effects the disease could have on it.
Whirling disease attacks the cartilage of young fish, particularly in the head and spine. Infected fish develop a black tail and deformed spine and sometimes swim in endless circles.
Rainbow trout are the most vulnerable to the parasite, but all trout species seem to have some level of susceptibility, according to Game and Fish officials.
Older fish can also contract the disease, but are not as susceptible because their skeletons have hardened, Burkhart said.
Biologists first detected the disease in Germany in 1893. It showed up in Pennsylvania in 1958, and since then has migrated west and is now present in 22 states. Trout populations in some parts of Colorado, Idaho and Montana have fallen sharply because of whirling disease, with some drainages more drastically affected than others. Montana's Madison River, for example, once held 2000 rainbow trout per mile. That number plunged to 200 per mile after whirling disease appeared.
Once the disease is detected in a drainage, it is there to stay, Burkhart said. "We have to manage around it," he said.
Authorities said people can help prevent the spread of whirling disease by washing mud from boats, trailers, waders and float tubes before leaving a river or lake. Anglers are also urged not to move water, mud, fish, or fish parts from one river basin to another, and not to throw fish heads, skeletons, or entrails into any body of water.
The disease was detected on the South Fork in 1996. The National Elk Refuge near Jackson, a state fish hatchery in Dubois, and the Popo Agie River on the Wind River Indian Reservation have also carried the disease.
Recent background information on Whirling disease can be found in the moderator's comment to ref 20021012.5534. - Mod.AS
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at: Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health



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