A new virus that has decimated fish populations in Ecuador and Israel has spread to Egypt, according to a new report from The University of Stirling and World Fish.
Scientists from the University of Stirling and WorldFish will now work to establish whether TiLV is the primary cause of ‘summer mortality’. If that is the case, they will recommend rapid action to control the spread of the disease, including increased biosecurity in the short term.
The Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) is a global threat to the tilapia fish farming industry, worth $7.5bn per year.
Scientists are at work to establish a link between the virus and a recent surge in mortalities in Egyptian farmed tilapia.
Identifying the case of, and prevention for, these deaths is of particular significance in Egypt, which relies on domestic aquaculture for 60% of fish consumed, with tilapia making up 75% of that.
Michael Phillips, director of science and aquaculture for WorldFish, said, “Tilapia were previously considered to have good disease resistance. While the report and the emergence of TiLV will not dent the species’ dominance in global aquaculture, it is a sign that greater efforts will have to be made to ensure tilapia’s hardy reputation.”
Tissue samples from seven farms affected by ‘summer mortality’ were tested at the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture for TiLV. Three of the seven samples tested positive.
Bringing down the disease impact in aquaculture is paramount to meeting future global demand for fish, indicated Stirling virologist professor Manfred Weidmann.
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