VHS Surveillance Study

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Since the initial 2005 discovery of the Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia virus (VHSv) in the Great Lakes region, the virus has persisted and continued to spread.

VHS is a disease that causes hemorrhaging, anemia, and eventual organ failure in susceptible fish. The severity of the clinical signs and potential mortality events are highly variable among species, seasons, and locations. Although the long-term impact of this disease is not fully understood, we do know that preventing the spread is critical to the maintenance and growth of our aquaculture, and commercial and sport fishing industries.

To reduce the potential spread of VHS within Minnesota and meet the new regulatory requirements, a state sponsored (Minnesota Rapid Agriculture Response Fund) surveillance program will test 50 water bodies each year in 2010 and 2011, free of charge to the industry. This survey will inform epidemiologists and managers on the extent of the disease, better preparing them for the arrival of VHS. In addition, by targeting waters frequented by the aquaculture producers and wild baitfish harvesters, the survey will provide the required testing to move fish intrastate for many of the popular waterbodies.

Results from each site will be public information and posted on this website when available. Sixty fish from each site will be tested by the current gold standard, virus isolation (30 day turn-around), and qRT-PCR (1 week turn-around). Collections must be arranged with the nearest veterinarian (see approved Fish Health Collector list below) or the MN DNR Pathology Lab. Due to the busy spring baitfish season, it is recommended to arrange a collection time as early as possible. Fish must arrive to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory on a M, Tu, or W for testing. Pending negative results, the VHS certification for each waterbody will be recognized for 1 year from the collection date.

Please check back frequently, as this website will be current with proposed testing sites and results.

Questions? Let us know!

Nick Phelps
University of Minnesota – Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
(612) 624-7450

Ling Shen
MN DNR – Pathology Laboratory
(651) 259-5096

VHS Surveillance Study Approved Collectors

VHS Surveillance Study Approved Collectors

Dr. Jeff Lukken | (218) 864-5695 | Battle Lake, MN
Dr. John Howe | (218) 326-9668 | Grand Rapids , MN
Dr. Glen Zebarth | (320) 762-1575 | Alexandria, MN
Dr. Jamie Litke | (320) 630-0151 | Pierz, MN
Dr. Spencer Wayne | (507) 215-1604 | Pipestone, MN
Dr. Robert K. Smith | (715) 948-2971 | Clayton, WI
Dr. Michael Bjorklund | (507) 256-7237 | Clarks Grove, MN
Dr. Amanda Covington | (320) 485-3311 | Winsted, MN

If the nearest veterinarian is unable to collect the fish, contact the MN DNR Pathology Lab at
(651) 259-5096 to arrange collection.

VHS Surveillance Study Submission

VHS Surveillance Study Submission

  1. Contact nearest veterinarian (see approved Fish Health Collector list) or DNR Pathology Lab to arrange collection of fish sample.
  2. Call University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab (VDL) at (612) 624-7450 to notify when fish will arrive. Must arrive Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday each week.
  3. Fill out submission form and give to Fish Health Collector.
  4. Collect fish and send/deliver to VDL at the address on the submission form.
  5. Await VHS results. Results will be updated online each Friday. Hard copies will be provided upon request.

VHS Surveillance Sites and Results

VHS Surveillance Sites and Results