Aug 5, 2008: Oysters get herpes!

Oyster World

Totally not cool.

Juvenile oysters in France are being massacred by a herpes virus.

According to the BBC:

Young French oysters have fallen prey to a killer virus because they have used up too much energy developing their sex organs, scientists believe.
The BBC article goes on to say that good growing conditions (warm winter, wet spring) encouraged the oysters to develop their reproductive organs, leaving them less able to defend themselves against Oyster Herpesvirus type 1. The warm water also allowed a strain of vibrio (V. splendidus) to proliferate, further weakening the oysters. Maybe the French oyster industry will start farming sterile triploid oysters in response to the herpes outbreak??? Would triploid oysters be better able to withstand the virus?

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  • Oyster Herpes Outbreak in New Zealand | Hama Hama® Oyster Blog on

    […] Oyster herpes first gained worldwide (at least, within the oyster industry) in 2008 when it was responsible for widespread mortality in French oyster farms. Since then the French strain of the disease has popped up in Britain. Now oyster herpes is being blamed for the 80% mortality that farmers in New Zealand are seeing in their juvenile Pacifics. Scientists in New Zealand estimate that the disease has been in their waters since the 90s, but that warmer water temperatures precipitated the current outbreak. They are also hoping that the surviving 20% of the population can be used to create a herpes-resistant strain of Pacific oyster. […]

  • Oyster Herpes Spreads to the UK | Hama Hama® Oyster Blog on

    […] the past several years oyster farmers in France have lost anywhere from 20 to 80 percent of their broodstock  to a new, more virulent Herpes […]

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