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Friday, June 30, 2017

TILAPIA VIRUS ALERT: Experts Find New Strain of VIRUS IN TILAPIA, Warn Fish Farms To Be VIGILANT

The global tilapia industry, estimated at US $ 9.5 billion in 2015, is under a new threat with the emergence of the TiLV (tilapia lake virus). According to CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-food Systems (FISH), The tilapia lake virus (TiLV) is a newly emerging virus associated with significant mortalities in farmed tilapia. Since the first discovery of the virus in Israel in 2014, cases have been reported in Columbia, Ecuador, Egypt and Thailand. Now that screening tools are available and can be accessed by fish disease diagnostic/research labs, the number of reported TiLV cases is expected to rise. There has been no report of any human health-related issues linked to the consumption of affected tilapia from any of the affected countries since the emergence of TiLV. Looking at fish viruses overall, including TiLV, there is no evidence for a fish virus causing disease in humans. However, tilapia farmers around the world are advised to be vigilant and investigate on unusual cases and observations in their farms.
How would you know if a tilapia has TiLV?

Mass mortalities of farmed tilapia (20–90 percent) are an indicative sign of infection
with TiLV. Gross signs include dermal lesions and ulcers, ocular abnormalities, the opacity of the lens, loss of appetite, slow movement, gathering in the pond bottom and reduced schooling behavior.

If any of these signs are observed from the fish farms, owners and farmers need to report the incident to the nearest fisheries bureau for proper investigation and verification.

What are the risk factors?

According to experts, tilapia fish suffer from TiLV during the summer months. Different types of tilapia fish are affected. However, mullets and carps in polyculture systems do not die.
via New Vision
International food authorities take action

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations issued a global warning against the threat of TiLV.

Tilapia producing countries need to be vigilant, and should follow aquatic animal-health code protocols of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) when trading tilapia. They should initiate an active surveillance program to determine the presence or absence of TiLV, the geographic extent of the infection and identify risk factors that may help contain it.

Countries are encouraged also to launch public information campaigns to advise aquaculturists - many of them smallholders - of TiLV's clinical signs and the economic and social risks it poses and the need to flag large-scale mortalities to biosecurity authorities.

Currently, actively TiLV surveillance is being conducted in China, India, Indonesia and it is planned to start in the Philippines. In Israel, an epidemiological retrospective survey is expected to determine factors influencing low survival rates and overall mortalities including relative importance of TiLV. In addition, a private company is currently working on the development of live attenuated vaccine for TiLV.

It is not currently known whether the disease can be transmitted via frozen tilapia products, but "it is likely that TiLV may have a wider distribution than is known today and its threat to tilapia farming at the global level is significant," Global Information and Early Warnings System said in its alert.

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