KHV on the agenda at London meeting

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Fish disease experts are meeting in London this week (Feb 12-13) to figure out how to contain a viral disease that is razing populations of carp.

Fish populations are periodically struck with viral diseases, but Koi Herpes Virus, or KHV, is killing four out of every five fish that it infects, and has spread rapidly around the world.

The disease threatens two important fish populations: the ornamental Koi carp industry, which is worth tens of millions of dollars in Japan, and the common carp, the world's fourth most-farmed fish.

The London meeting will bring together researchers, animal-health experts and representatives from the ornamental-fish industry.

One point for discussion will be the lack of an effective test for the virus, particularly one that can reliably detect it during its sometimes lengthy asymptomatic phase.

Researchers attending the meeting say they also want to know where the new virus first emerged - whether it jumped into carp from another species, for example. This might help them to anticipate and prevent other new fish infections.