The deadly virus Spring Viraemia of Carp (SVC) has been found in goldfish imported from Europe and Asia at three sites in the UK, according to a statement issued by Defra.
The virus, which is a notifiable disease under the Diseases of Fish Act (1937), was detected during routine health checks in fish imports into the country from both Europe and Asian goldfish suppliers. It affects carp, goldfish, tench, roach, rudd, pike and wels, so is a serious threat to wild fish stocks in Britain.
The three UK sites found to have infected goldfish have completed supervised clearance and disinfection programmes. Defra is tracing the movement of fish from the sites to determine whether the disease is likely to surface anywhere else following the transfer of fish.
Defra says it has contacted the authorities in the countries from which the infected fish were exported who are now trying to ascertain the suppliers of the fish. Cefas has also stepped up testing at aquatic retail outlets and import facilities to identify the extent, if any, of the spread of the disease.
SVC is widespread in continental Europe, and is known to occur in some other countries. However, SVC cases are rare in the UK, and only two were reported in 2003. The last major outbreak occurred in 1988 when 40 sites were affected.
The symptoms of SVC are varied but may include lethargy, exophthalmia (pop-eye), dropsy (a swelling of the abdominal region), darkening of the skin, clear or pale faeces and a protruding anus, and bleeding from the skin or gills.
If you have any of the host species with similar symptoms contact the Cefas Fish Health Inspectorate at Weymouth on 01305 206673 or 206674.