SVC detected in imported fish
Recent routine import checks have identified Spring viraemia of carp (SVC) virus in goldfish imported from a supplier in Beijing, China. The supplier was Beijing Heizhuanghu Fancy Fish, The East Street, Heizhuanghu Town, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China, reports http://www.megafishnet.com/ with reference to Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (CEFAS).
SVC has no implications for human health. It is nonetheless, a serious viral disease affecting common and ornamental carp, as well as a variety of other species including tench, roach, goldfish, pike and wels catfish.
The virus was found in a sample taken from imported fish that had died in transit. The Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI), based at Cefas, placed movement controls on, and took samples from, the single site that received fish from the SVC positive consignment. These samples also proved to be positive for SVC, and the remaining fish were humanely culled.
All of the imported fish were held in a biosecure quarantine facility by the importer, and so the disease was contained with no possibility of spread to other sites. The maintenance of an effective quarantine facility by the importer had the added advantage that the disease outbreak was controlled with minimal disruption to the business.
This case clearly demonstrates the advantages to importers of maintaining quarantine facilities for imported fish. Further information on biosecurity measures can be obtained from the Fish Health Inspectorate.
The authorities in the exporting country have been informed of the isolation of SVC and they are conducting investigations to identify the source of the infection. Importation of fish from the affected source will be prohibited pending the conclusion of these investigations.
The clinical signs of SVC can include darkening of the skin, swollen eyes, abdominal swelling, pale gills, trailing faecal casts and protrusion of the anus. Infected fish may be lethargic and show areas of bleeding in the gills and skin.
Anyone noting deaths in carp or any other species susceptible to SVC, with signs of disease similar to those above, or have suspicion of notifiable disease in any aquatic animal, should immediately contact the Fish Health Inspectorate at Cefas' Weymouth laboratory on 01305 206673/4.
Anyone who imports, keeps or retails carp or other susceptible fish should take strict precautions to prevent the spread of SVC and follow the advice set out in Defra's booklet "Keep Fish Disease Out" and the Cefas booklet "Spring viraemia of carp (SVC)" available from the Fish Health Inspectorate or through this website: www.efishbusiness.com.
The Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI), based at Cefas' Weymouth laboratory, is dedicated to maintaining and improving fish and shellfish health in England and Wales. Its primary role is to act for Defra and Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) in undertaking statutory and inspection duties resulting from the EU fish health regime and other national legislation in the area of fish and shellfish health. The Inspectorate is responsible for health certification of fish and shellfish movements from other countries, and runs an enforcement programme aimed at preventing the illegal importation of these animals.
Spring viraemia of carp (SVC) is a notifiable disease under The Aquatic Animal Health (England and Wales) Regulations 2009. The disease has been controlled in Great Britain since 1973. Great Britain has applied a control and eradication programme for SVC since 2004 and the last outbreak in wild fish stocks occurred in 2007. Great Britain is now believed to be free from this disease. All imports of susceptible species of fish imported into Great Britain are required to meet stringent health requirements in order to protect our fish stocks from this disease.