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Mild trout virus detected in state hatcheries


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - State officials are monitoring the Mississippi River watershed after releasing fish from a hatchery that may have a virus.

It's called cutthroat trout virus and state fisheries section chief Al Kaas says they're not sure how it got into the hatchery. "Water that had contained fish that had the virus in it, or if if there were predators like birds or furbearers that had eaten fish that had the virus." This is the first time the virus has been detected east of the Mississippi.

Kaas says they immediately reported the findings, but by that time several thousand brown trout had already been released from the hatchery. "We contacted DATCP, and we were told that it's not a reportable disease, and they would take no action as a result."

The virus has been known in warmer water climates but does not usually present a danger to fish. Kaas says there's also no danger to humans. "It's like they've caught a cold. It's something that may make the fish feel funny for a few days."

Kaas says it's not expected to be an issue. "We do not expect it to cause any problems in the hatchery or in the waters where the fish were released." Officials say the virus may have moved into the hatcheries from the nearby watersheds or other sources.