Oysters Can in Fact Get Herpes, And It’s Killing Them in Droves
OutdoorHub Reporters 09.19.17
A lethal strain of the herpes virus is severely threatening Pacific oysters, the world’s most popular and valuable oyster species, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
Ostreid herpesvirus 1 (OsHV-1) is the virus that’s got oyster experts concerned, saying it’s almost certain the virus will spread throughout our globally connected world.
What you need to know:
- Humans can’t contract Ostreid herpesvirus 1 (OsHV-1) from eating infected oysters – it can only spread to other bivalve species.
- An outbreak of this deadly herpes virus began in France back in 2008, and from there spread to England (where it claimed over 8 million oysters in 2010), New Zealand, and Australia. So far, the virus has been detected in Tomales Bay, California, but has not spread in U.S. waters.
- Vaccinating oysters is out of the question. Instead, experts are already working on breeding “disease-resistant oyster lines” and researchers are desperately trying to identify any genes involved in fighting the virus, writes University of Maryland, Baltimore County professor Colleen Burge.
Why it’s important:
Aside from being a multi-billion-dollar (that’s billion with a B) industry, these scrumptious molluscs filter upwards of 50 gallons of sea water per oyster a day.
The 2008 outbreak in France caused prices to skyrocket: