Officials from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks say the 200-mile area of river will remained closed until fish stop dying. According to the agency, as of Friday morning, up to 4,000 fish have been counted, but a real number is believed to be in the tens of thousands.
Test results from samples sent to the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Fish Health Center in Bozeman, show the catalyst for this fish kill to be proliferative kidney disease.
Fish suck in spores of the disease through their gills, and the parasite then travels to the kidneys, eventually causing failure. It is not dangerous for humans.
It is believed that the deadly parasite is getting into rivers through boats, tubes, waders and other human contact. But effects of the disease can also be worsened by poor river conditions like high water temperatures and low flows, which are stressful for cold-water species like trout and whitefish.
— Montana FWP (@MontanaFWP) August 19, 2016
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