August 02, 2006

Fish Ebola Not Yum

I'm sad to hear that my piscine friends in Lake Ontario are dying of what sounds like a fishy version of Ebola. The virus, viral hemorrhagic septicemia, has been described as a fish version of the plague, with a hit-or-miss attack on its victims.

Although not all fish are hurt by the virus, the picture of those that are is not pretty. It destroys the lining of blood vessels, causing internal bleeding; infected fish often have bulging eyes with bleeding around the sockets, pale gills, distended, fluid-filled bellies and corkscrew swimming behaviour.

Apparently it's okay to play with sick fish, but scientists recommend against ingesting them.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is safe to handle infected fish, even if they are dying or dead, but it doesn't recommend eating them.

I don't know--they sound kind of appetizing what with the bulging eyes and fluid filled bellies.

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