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Morton: More ISA virus found in BC wild salmon

Lab tests have confirmed the Infectious Salmon Anemia virus in Rivers Inlet sockeye smolts and Fraser River coho, chinook and chum salmon, Alexandra Morton reported on her blog today.

In her post, Morton wrote:

Dr. Are Nylund at the University of Bergen, Norway confirmed the ISA virus detection by Canadian lab, Dr. Fred Kibenge, in Rivers Inlet sockeye smolts. Dr. Nylund reports he only got a positive in one of the fish and this result was close to the detection limit for the test that he used. In the report below, the higher the value, the lower the amount of virus. He said the sample was poor quality. We are on a steep learning curve here, having never dealt with viruses, keeping the samples in a home-type freezer was not optimal.

I also received the report from Dr. Kibenge, of the World Animal Health reference lab for ISA virus in Prince Edward Island, on salmon a small group of us collected in the Fraser River on October 12. Late last week results from this group of tests was leaked to the New York Times and we heard that a Coho salmon tested positive for ISAv. Now that I have the complete report we learn that, similar to the sockeye from Rivers Inlet, the Coho in the Fraser River was infected with the European strain of ISA virus. But we see from this report that a chinook salmon and a chum salmon also tested positive.

Links to the reports are available on Morton's blog.

In related developments, Nanaimo First Nations were reported calling for government action to control the ISA threat, and Lillooet Tribal Council chair Chief Garry John demanded a federal government investigation.

As well, reported that the U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed an amendment, sponsored by Democratic and Republican senators, ordering scientists to investigate the outbreak and design a rapid response plan to prevent the spread of ISA into American waters.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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