DNR: Dead Fish Test Positive for VHS

Initial lab tests on dead fish found in Lake Winnebago and Lakeside Park are showing a probable outbreak of VHS – a virus that impacts over 50 different species of fish.  The virus, known as viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus, is not known to be harmful to humans. Biologists do not expect this fish kill to have a significant impact on the Winnebago fishery. The conditions created by late winter and recent weather were favorable for the virus, which has been detected in the area for over a decade.

Northeast Region Supervisor Kendall Kamke says the amount of fish at Lakeside Park makes the problem look a bit worse than it actually is. He tell us “You have to remember what you’re seeing along a shoreline has generally
accumulated there because wind has blown it in. I mean, if you were to go out
on Winnebago, it’s certainly not dead drum where across the entire surface that
you can walk on them.” Kamke also says biologists do not believe other recent events contributed to the deaths of the fish. He tell us “neither of those two events; the algae or the titanium oxide release
from the AP Nonweiler up in Oshkosh
are responsible for this. The positive test for VHS really should quell those
rumors I guess. We had three events that were kind of simultaneously occurring,
but are that are not really related to each other”

The lab is also searching for other potential pathogens. A full lab report is expected in about a month – as the DNR investigation into the fish die-off continues.