Largemouth bass virus confirmed in additional lakes in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (via CLICKONDETROIT.COM)- The largemouth bass virus has been found in two additional lakes in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula, following an initial discovery this past October in Cedar Lake (Iosco County).

This time LMBV was found in smallmouth bass in Beaver Lake (Alpena County) during the investigation of a fish kill and in Avalon Lake (Montmorency County). These latest discoveries indicate the virus is spreading northward in Michigan.

Prior to this fall, the virus previously affected adult largemouth bass in the early 2000s in southern Michigan lakes. In those lakes the pathogen killed 10 to 20 percent of the larger adult largemouth bass at first exposure, with populations recovering in a few years. The virus has been found in other species including smallmouth bass, bluegill and black crappie in that part of the state. Bluegill and black crappie are known to be carriers but do not die from this virus.

“The largemouth bass virus likely compromised the immune system of smallmouth bass in Beaver Lake, causing secondary bacterial infections to become more lethal and allowed the virus to be a direct factor in the fish kill,” said Gary Whelan, the DNR Fisheries Division's research manager. “Because these latest detections are at the northern edge of where LMBV has been found, we may see different responses than what was documented in southern Michigan.”

LMBV is one of more than 100 naturally occurring viruses that affect fish and is closely related to viruses found in frogs and other amphibians. Its origin and methods of spreading are unknown.

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