The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has confirmed the presence of koi herpes virus in Kansas following a series of small- to large-scale carp die-offs during the early summer.


Fisheries biologists collected samples from Hillsdale Reservoir, the hardest hit body of water, in June and sent them to the Aquaculture and Fisheries Center at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff for testing.


On July 24, the agency received test results back from the lab confirming the presence of koi herpes virus.


According to the KDWPT, the first sightings of dead common carp were reported in mid- to late-May at Clinton, Hillsdale and Pomona reservoirs. Die-offs continued through June before fully ceasing in early July. Though the total number of common carp affected is unknown, KDWPT fisheries biologists estimated the number to be in excess of 5,000 fish.


"These die-off events largely occurred during the species’ spawning season, which is already a very stressful time for fish," KDWPT aquatic nuisance species coordinator Chris Steffen said in a news release. "Add to that a cool spring quickly shifting to hot summer weather, and it’s likely these fish were more stressed than normal, making them more susceptible to disease."


According to the agency, KHV is a DNA-based virus that stays with the infected fish for the duration of its life. Physical symptoms that can manifest in infected fish include patches of red, white or pale discoloration, bleeding gills, sunken eyes or blistering. It only affects members of the Cyprinidae family. KHV has no documented effect on humans.