Scientists Shocked After Discovering New Strain Of Deadly Virus In Tilapia

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Tilapia as food are highly prized due to its numerous benefits but somewhat controversial, due to the fact that they are natural scavengers of detritus and toxic materials in the water they live in.

And just recently, a new study found out that a new strain of virus are currently attacking wild and farmed tilapia in Colombia and Ecuador.

An international team of researchers has identified the virus as Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) which most closely related to a family of influenza viruses called orthomyxoviruses.


“Our findings suggest that tilapia lake virus represents a novel virus, and confirm that it poses a global threat to tilapia aquaculture,” says joint lead author Eran Bacharach, a virologist at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

When a healthy fish was exposed to TiLV, it will result in disease that matched with what was seen in other countries such as in Israel. The virus causes lethargy, skin flaking and kidney problems in infected fish, which ultimately kills them.

Because the viruses from the two sites shared almost identical gene sequences, researchers believes they came from the same source. But how the virus traveled between Israel and Ecuador, and in which direction, is still a mystery.

“Now we need a better understanding of the virus epidemiology, its biological properties, infectious capacity and routes of contagion,” Margy Villanueva says. She's the leader of the National Sanitary Program for Aquaculture Species at the Colombian Agricultural Institute.

Source: GMA News