Virus blamed for massive fish kill in western Missouri

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 | 9:30 p.m. CDT; updated 11:02 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 20, 2012

BLUE SPRINGS — Missouri conservation officials have identified the cause of a massive carp die-off in a Jackson County lake.

The Missouri Department of Conservation reported Wednesday that lab tests determined the koi herpes virus was behind the deaths of about 16,000 carp in Blue Springs Lake.

It's not clear how the virus got into the lake, but fishery biologist Jake Allman said it may have resulted from someone dumping unwanted bait, koi or goldfish.

The die-off was first noticed in late May. The virus appears to have affected only carp, an invasive species that competes for food and habitat with other sport fish.

Conservation officials said the outbreak is probably over as the water temperature has climbed and the number of carp has declined. The agency said the virus cannot be transmitted to humans.

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