Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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2006 VHS outbreak - lifting of restrictions

2006 VHS outbreak - lifting of restrictions

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (Information Bulletin ref :351/08) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 4 November 2008

Restrictions which have been in place since the identification of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) in May 2006 have been lifted today.

The United Kingdom originally suspended its approved status for VHS for the whole of Great Britain following the identification of the VHS virus at a single trout farm in North Yorkshire. The disease was eradicated from the affected fish farm which was subsequently disinfected and fallowed. Statutory controls were put in place on the Greater Ouse river catchment area and a comprehensive disease investigation conducted of farmed and wild fish stocks across the affected area.

Following a two year surveillance programme, which required regular inspection and testing of susceptible species in the affected zone no further evidence for the presence of VHS has been found. After application to the European Commission, Great Britain has regained full VHS freedom status.

Suspicion of the presence of the disease should be immediately reported to the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in Weymouth, on 01305-206673/206674 or

Notes to Editors

1. VHS has no implications for human health.

2. This was the first outbreak of VHS recorded in mainland Great Britain, although there was an outbreak of the marine form of the disease in farmed turbot in the Isle of Gigha in 1994.

3. Further information on VHS and other serious freshwater disease can be found on the Defra website The efishbusiness website ( also provides information on fish health matters.

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