Spring Viremia of Carp (SVC)

Special Notice: SVC found in Minnehaha Creek (Minneapolis, MN)

In order to prevent the spread of SVC within our state, it is imperative that all users of the state's waters to remember to follow existing requirements:

  • Remove all visible plants for your boat before leaving a water access;
  • Drain water for your boat, motor, live well, and bait containers;
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash; and

Spray, rinse or dry boats and recreational equipment before transporting to another water body

Cause of disease:

Virus - serious viral disease of fresh water fish which primarily affects carp and other species of the family Cyprinidae

Why do I need to be concerned about Spring Viremia of Carp?

SVC is a serious fish pathogen that has been known to cause significant fish kills. While carp are the primary species affected by this virus, it can also affect other species of game fish such as northern pike and largemouth bass. The virus might not always lead to death, but it will cause weakened immune response. Healthy fish populations are important in maintaining Minnesota’s world renowned fisheries.

What does it look like?

Fish infected with SVC might or might not display symptoms. Some possible symptoms include:

  • lethargy
  • darkened skin
  • exophthalmia (pop-eye)
  • anemia and pale gills
  • edema (swelling due to excess fluid)
  • widespread hemorrhaging

NOTE: Confirming SVC infection requires sophisticated laboratory testing. A diagnosis cannot be made based solely on observation because many different diseases of fish have very similar symptoms.

Spring Viremia of Carp (SVC)

Spring Viremia of Carp (SVC)

Photo courtesy of Dr. Andrew Goodwin

Spring Viremia of Carp (SVC)

Photo courtesy of Dr. Andrew Goodwin

Fish species affected:

  • common carp
  • northern pike
  • rainbow trout
  • bluegill
  • largemouth bass
  • koi
  • goldfish
  • bighead carp
  • silver carp
  • grass carp
  • crucian carp
  • penaeid shrimp
  • orfe
  • tench
  • sheatfish

Species that have been experimentally infected with SVC virus include: (The disease has not killed any of these species to date.)

  • golden shiners
  • pumpkinseed sunfish
  • guppies
  • roach
  • zebrafish

How does the disease spread between waters?

  • Moving infected fish from one body of water to another. This includes live gamefish caught in an infected water and live baitfish caught or used in an infected water and transported and used in another.
  • Moving infected water and equipment from one waterbody to another. Examples would be the discharge of infected water and fish from ships, discharge of infected water from live wells on fishing boats, and discharge of infected bilge water from recreational and fishing boats.
  • Stocking or releasing infected fish or water from infected fish hatcheries.
  • The natural migration and movement of infected fish from one waterbody to another.

Where has the disease been found?

Within Minnesota

  • SVC has been found in pool 8 of the Mississippi River (near LaCrosse, WI), and in Minnehaha Creek (in Minneapolis), near the waterfall.

Inside of the United States

  • North Carolina
  • Wisconsin
  • Illinois
  • Washington
  • Missouri
  • Ohio

Outside of the United States

  • Europe
  • Middle East
  • China
  • Canada
  • South America

Is it safe to eat?

The virus does not have any impact on humans, through direct contact or via fish consumption.

How can I prevent the spread?

Do not move live fish between waterbodies. DISPOSE of unwanted baitfish and fish parts in the trash.
Do not move any water between waterbodies. DRAIN water from boat, motor, bilge, livewells and bait containers before leaving the water access.
SPRAY & DRY boats, trailers, and recreational equipment, especially after leaving waters known to be infected with SVC.

  • Power-wash boat hulls and gear with hot water (preferably 140°F)
  • Rinse then dry the boat and gear completely for 12 hours.

If you catch a suspected diseased fish:

  • Place the fish in a clean plastic bag and keep it in an iced cooler or refrigerator as quickly as possible (do not freeze).
  • Call the local DNR fisheries office or the DNR Pathology Lab at 651-259-5096 right away for instructions.
  • Do not risk spreading the VHS virus by bringing potentially diseased fish to DNR offices or hatcheries.

If you observe a fish kill:

  • Call the State Duty Office (651-649-5451 or 1-800-422-0798) to report the waterbody, date, fish species, and number of dead or dying fish.
  • Don't collect fish samples from a fish kill.

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