The largemouth bass virus (LMBV) has been found in two additional counties in Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said the virus, which was previously found in Cedar Lake in Iosco County, has been found in a smallmouth bass in Alpena County’s Beaver Lake, and Montmorency County’s Avalon Lake.
These discoveries indicate the virus is spreading northward, according to the DNR.
Prior to this fall, the virus previously affected adult largemouth bass in the early 2000s in southern Michigan lakes.
The virus has been found in other species, including smallmouth bass, bluegill, and black crappie in that part of the state.
LMBV is one of more than 100 naturally occurring viruses that affect fish and is closely related to viruses found in frogs and other amphibians.
Its origin and methods of spreading are unknown, but anglers are considered a likely component.
LMBV is not known to infect humans, and infected fish, if thoroughly cooked, are safe to eat.
There are few outward signs that a fish has LMBV, although they may be lethargic, swim slowly and be less responsive to activity around them.
Dying fish often are seen near the surface and have difficulty remaining upright.
For more information on fish diseases, visit the DNR webpage Michigan.gov/FishHealth.