Saturday, September 08, 2007

"Fish Virus Afraid of Horses"

Sunday, Sept. 9th update: Some things the news article did not say- where the virus was found, that is, in what species of fish or fishes, how many infected fish were found, who found or caught the fish. In other words some very specific, relevant facts. How did I not notice these missing facts... I think the report-the-narrative/not-the-facts template the drive-bys use is so ubiquitous, we don't see what is not there. But it was, and is right there in the headline, subject and verb,"Fears mount". Not "Infected fish in Lake Winnebago, VHS deadly to Salmonids". The Dog that did not report...?

Well, the storyline was actually, "Fish virus fears mount". Curious that snippets of news in papers of news are called stories. There is no story there, but there are always storylines. This one reports on feelings. Fears Mount! Eeeeeee!! When I see an AP byline, what mounts in me is gorge and bile.

"It's another gorgeous morning for fishing on Lake Winnebago. Clear skies. Sunshine. Fishing boats cruising across the horizon." (I don't know Lake Winnebago, but is it large enough to see boats on its horizon? The sight distance is about three miles. If Lake Winnebago were a perfect half circle, one could see " cruising across the horizon" from the center of the half circle. Three miles to the left, right and center. I quibble, I know. Update from two seconds ago: "Aha! I see it's a big lake. A very big lake, some 30 miles by 10 miles. My trust in the AP is not restored. ) Where was I...

"...across the horizon. But under these sparkling waters lurks an invader anglers fear could devastate Wisconsin's billion dollar-plus fishing industry and, if left unchecked, threaten waters to the west." Storyline: invaders always lurk, fears always mount, checks are always could be unleft. I thought the press hated billion dollar industries.

"Wildlife officials detected the viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus..." (Is that not redundant? Shouldn't it read hemorrhagic septicemia virus? One would not write bacterial such-and-such bacteria. I quibble.) Aha! I am corrected again. Thank you
Fish Disease Leaflet 83,
Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia of Fishes, Philip E. McAllister.

"Viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), a systemic infection of various salmonid and a few nonsalmonid fishes, is caused by a rhabdovirus designated as the viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (Office International des Epizooties 1963). The virus infection occurs in salmonids and certain other fishes of any age and may result in significant cumulative mortality. Fish that survive may become carriers. Viral hemorrhagic septicemia has been reported under various names, of which "Egtved disease" and "Infektiose Nierenschwellung und Leberdegeneration" are the best known. The viral etiology of the disease was established by Jensen (1965), and several serotypes of the virus (also known as "Egtved virus") are currently recognized"

Well, if the AP had called it "Egtved disease" I'd uh seen it right off! Doesn't "significant cumulative mortality" carry greater specificity than "lurk", "fear could devastate" and "if left unchecked"? And the upcoming "...viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus in the Lake Winnebago chain in May, alarming the fishing community." (Note that it does not read 'fishermen', or 'the state's anglers', or Wisconsin anglers. What other communities lurk among the alarmed fishing community?)

Skipping a bit through the murky waters of the AP: "It has already spread through much of the Great Lakes, causing massive fish kills. ("Eeeeeee!!" Fish kills, indeed any kills must always, by rule, be massive. "i before e, except after c; fish kills and any other animal species 'kills' must be labelled massive.")

AP: "Ohio wildlife oficials estimate (guess?) the virus wiped out, (" wiped out..."; "i before e...."), hundreds of thousands of freshwater drum in Lake Erie last year. The virus hasn't been detected in Lake Superior or the Mississippi River-yet- but it has appeared in inland waters in Michigan, New York and Wisconsin ( it's 'lurking' though). (I thought it had "spread through much of the Great Lakes"? The Great Lakes are five lakes; spread through much of allfive except for the fifth? I quibble; massively. Nor lurk neither. Lunkers also lurking, Esox lucius, Salvelinus namaycush, Oncorhynchus mykiss and other O's: O. tshawytscha, O. kisutch etc. (That lurking lunker "yet" was caught and then released by the AP, not me.)

AP: "No one knows for sure how much damage the virus could cause in smaller, inland waters." Wait!!! I thought it could "devastate Wisconsin's billion dollar-plus fishing industry" and "...threaten waters to the west"? AP: "But the Lake Winnebago system is a gateway to hundreds of miles of trout streams and lakes, and some...." Wait!!! How many are in a some? "...some anglers (in the "fishing commuinity...?) fear (FEAR!!!Eeeeee!!!) Wisconsin's prized game fish-and the state's reputation as a national fishing destination-could be in jeopardy." ("I'll take press innuendo for $.11 Alex. " Answer: "Four". Question: "How many are in a some Alex." "That's correct, for $.11).

The "some": "Absolutely serious stuff, said Steve Severing, assistant tournament director with Angler's Edge Premier Bass Series in Loves Park, Ill. ...It could escalate all over the country, eventually, if left unchecked. ...Is it going to wipe out fishing? No, said Mike Staggs, Wisconsin DNR's fisheries management director. But this is a threat. A signigicant threat. ...Craig Hoopman's family has run Bay Fisheres, a commercial Lake Superior fishing company in Bayfield ("i before e") Wisconsin for four generations. Hoopman, 38, fishing primarily for whitefish, which travel in schools of thousands making it easy for the virus to cause massive kills. If it does get into Lake would put us right out of business, Hoopman said. It could just devastate the entire lake. " Wait!!! See those ellipses up there, after "Lake Superior" and before "it would put us out..."? Those are not my ellipses; they belong to the AP. In Jeopardy that's a $1000 Daily Double! Answer: "This is an audio Daily Double. Here's the interrupted quote-'Lake would put" Answer: "Who knows what is hidden behind the ellipses?" Correct, for about a gazillion dollars!

"...schools of thousands...easy for the virus to causse massive kills." Hmm. What does Fish Disease Leaflet 83 say about this? Unless hidden by ellipses, the words 'school', 'schools' and 'massive kills' are absent from Leaflet 83. Nor lurking neither. It does say this under the heading Transmission:

"The VHS virus is readily transmissible to fish of all ages, and survivors of infection can become lifelong carriers that shed virus with urine and sex products. The virus ostensibly gains access to the fish through the secondary gill lamellae. Virus shed with sex products appears to be solely a surface contaminant of the egg and is readily dissipated. Although virus can be isolated from eggs for 3 to 4h after spawning, true vertical transmission has not been demonstrated. Experimentally, fish can be infected by cohabitation, immersion, intraperitoneal and intramuscular injection, brushing virus on the gills, and feeding (Jorgensen 1980; de Kinkelin and Castric 1982; de Kinkelin 1983; Castric and de Kinkelin 1984).
In Europe, the gray heron, Ardea cinerea, is known to be a mechanical vector of VHS virus (Olesen and Jorgensen 1982; Peters and Neukirch 1986), but the virus is inactivated in the gastrointestional tract of birds (Eskildsen and Jorgensen 1973). The virus is apparently not transmitted by parasitic vectors and, as judged from a study with the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, it does not replicate in insects (Bussereau et al. 1975).
In the hatchery environment, mechanical transfer of VHS virus on the surface of animate or inanimate objects presents a substantial hazard. The virus has been isolated from feral fish in waters receiving hatchery effluent, and can persist in water for several days (de Kinkelin and Scherrer 1970)."

Refreshing the clarity of scientific writing, no? "Readily transmissible to fish of all ages." Yes it sound serious. Under Factors Affection the Disease we read:

"Fish of any age are susceptible to infection, although sac fry and fish older than 6 months are sometimes resistant, (Ghittino 1965). Epizootic losses occur at temperatures of 3° to 12°C (mortality is greatest at 3° to 5°C); mortality and the proportion of virus carriers decrease at higher temperatures (de Kinkelin 1983). Deaths from VHS rarely occur at temperatures above 15°C." The Fahrenheit for the temps, respectively are 37.4 to 53.6, 37.4 to 41, and 59 degrees. What this means to this fisherman is that VHS is a cold water fisheries disease. All those O's above are Salmonids, specifically Brown trout, Steelhead and Coho Salmon. By the way, whitefish are salmonids. Quoting from
Host Susceptibility:

"In Europe, epizootics of VHS occur primarily in rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss; brown trout, Salmo trutta; and to a lesser extent in northern pike, Esox lucius (Jorgensen 1980; Meier and Jorgensen 1980). Natural infections have also occurred in grayling, Thymallus thymallus, and whitefish Coregonus sp. (Wizigmann et al. 1980; Ahne and Thomsen 1985; Meier et al. 1986). Outbreaks of VHS have been suspected in pollan, Coregonus lavaretus, and lake trout, Salvelinus namaycush. In the United States, natural infections have been diagnosed in chinook salmon, O. tshawytscha; coho salmon, O. kisutch; and steelhead (searun rainbow trout).
Fish shown by experimental challenge to be susceptible to VHS virus infection are Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar; brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis; golden trout, O. aguabonita; rainbow trout x coho salmon hybrids; giebel, Carassius auratus gibelio; sea bass, Dicentrarchus labrax; and turbot, Scophthalmus maximus (de Kinkelin and Castric 1982; Castric and de Kinkelin 1984; Wolf 1988). Fish shown by experimental challenges to be refractory to VHS virus infection are common carp, Cyprinus carpio; chub, Leuciscus cephalus; Eurasian perch, Perca fluviatilis; roach, L. rutilus; and tench, Tinca tinca. "

Epizootic: [adj] (
of animals) epidemic among animals of a single kind within a particular region; "an epizootic disease" Refractory to infection means resists infection, or, that is, not susceptible.
I will leave it to the reader to go to Leaflet 83 for the effects of VHS on fish. They are not heartening reading but far more informative and specific than the histopathology of the AP.

Oh, I almost forgot the fourth person from the "How many in a some" question. I was in jeopardy of massive lurkiness.
AP writer Todd Richmond.

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