Eel virus

Herpesvirus anguillae (HVA) is a virus that infects eels. It was first detected in the summer of 2009 and was the first confirmed outbreak of HVA in wild eels in the UK.
Disease outbreaks have all been reported during summer and early autumn. Diseased eels:
  • May appear lethargic and swim near the surface or the water’s edge.
  • They may have reddened fins and a mottled appearance to the skin.
    The main damage caused by this virus is to the gills, with necrosis (cell death) and loss of normal gill structure.
  • The internal organs can also be affected with inflammation and further necrosis. 
These changes cause organ failure, leading to debilitation and death. Little is known about the distribution of HVA in Britain. 
If you experience fish mortalities, or require more information about fish diseases please contact: National Fisheries Services, Environment Agency, Bromholme Lane, Brampton, Huntingdon, PE28 4NE. Tel: 01480 483802;

For more information on the disease, you can access the Environment Agency briefing note by clicking the link below:

EA HVA briefing note