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Expert: New tilapia virus 'is going to be a mess,' but not the next EMS

Researcher not worried about the long-term consequences. 

Is Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) the new ISA or EMS?

Not quite, University of Arizona tilapia guru Kevin Fitzsimmons told IntraFish.

Fitzsimmons acknowledged that the disease, first found in Israel, “is going to be a mess.”

“I think it’s going to be a serious problem and cost a lot of farmers a lot of money and take a concerted effort to develop some vaccines, management tools, better quarantine and biosecurity,” he said. “But we will.”

So far, the disease has shown highly variable mortality rates, with outbreaks in Thailand eliminating up to 90 percent of the stocks. 

He said researchers in Israel have already started working on vaccines, and he estimates those in Thailand will start soon, as well. His best guess on getting the problem under control? Two years or so, depending on how quickly researchers can develop the vaccines, test them and get them "out in the commercial realm." 

“Long term, I’m not that worried, because people will breed in resistance fairly quickly,” he said. “It’s not going to end the tilapia industry by any means.”

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