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Smallmouth bass tests positive for virus in Door County waters

You might want to check over the next Smallmouth bass you reel in on the waters surrounding the peninsula.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has confirmed a largemouth bass virus was found on 14 smallmouth bass from the bay of Green Bay near Door County in September.  Examined by DNR fisheries staff, the infected fish had red, ulcerated wounds that varied in size and location.

According to the Wisconsin DNR, outbreaks of similar skin lesions on smallmouth bass have appeared since 2008, but results were inconclusive.  The largemouth bass virus has caused weakness, swim-blander over-inflation, reddening, and death in largemouth bass populations in the Eastern United States and Wisconsin's Mississippi River Basin.

The DNR staff will continue to monitor the smallmouth bass population in the area.  The largemouth bass virus is not known to infect humans, but the DNR urges anglers to harvest fish to thoroughly cook their catch and never consume dead or dying fish.


Dr. Nicole Nietlisbach, DNR Aquatic Veterinarian, explains what is known about the virus at this point.


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