Defra confirms fish disease at RHS garden

A deadly disease has killed 60 koi carp at one of the RHS's flagship gardens.

Defra confirmed an outbreak of Koi Herpesvirus (KHV) disease in the top pond at RHS Garden Hyde Hall near Chelmsford, Essex. The site has been issued with a Designated Area Order prohibiting movement of fish to and from the garden's ponds.

Hyde Hall curator Ian Le Gros said: "KHV spreads rapidly through water during warmer temperatures and there is no treatment or licensed vaccine to prevent or cure possible infections. As a precaution, all RHS gardens have ceased accepting donations of fish from visitors, as the introduction of fish from other courses is a potential source of infection."

The RHS followed advice from the Environment Agency, Defra and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science. Fish carcasses have been incinerated and a four-year monitoring and testing regime will swing into action.

Hyde Hall representative Sue Carter said a value could not be placed on the fish that had been killed: "We still have about 12 large koi left but this has been devastating for us - it's so sad."

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