This virus has numerous interactions with multiple species, both in a direct and indirect sense.

Taken from

 Directly (and most apparently), the virus has a parasitic relationship with the fish hosts that it infects. The virus uses the cells of the host to reproduce, and leaves the host with massive necrosis, as well as hemorrhaging, swelling, and a reduced ability to survive if it does not die.





A bass infected with VHS.

The virus also interacts with fish that are not susceptible to the virus by using them as carriers. Often times, the virus will reside in fish that it cannot harm easily, and the fish will thus simply carry the virus to other fish populations. This can help to spread the disease on a wider scale, since the host does not suffer or die when infected, and can thus travel further.

This also affects other species indirectly. Though the virus can only infect fish, other species in the area that feed on those fish also suffer when their food supply drops. This, in turn, hurts the predators of these organisms, and the cycle continues. A loss in one population can result in a loss for other interconnected organisms in their food web.

Humans have also been affected by the disease. Fish farms and fishermen that work in areas of VHS infections see dwindling fish supply, which effects their income. If a fish hatchery becomes infected, sometimes it is necessary to clear out an entire crop of fish simply to rid the facility of the disease. This can be extremely costly for the business, especially since the money that was put into raising the fish is all lost.

Many recreational fishermen have also had to take greater caution when selecting their bait, so as to not infect further water systems. Use of infected fish bait can have dire consequences for the surrounding ecosystem if the virus infects the fish population.

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