Plankton may be spreading a herpes-like virus that has been devastating Pacific oyster farms across the world, newly published research has found.
Veterinary scientist Dr Richard Whittington, of the University of Sydney, and colleagues, report their findings on Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) in a recent issue of the journal Diseases of Aquatic Organisms.
"This is the first time that we've had the suspicion that it's attached to particles, probably plankton, which opens up doors for practical management," says Whittington.
Since 2008, POMS, caused by the ostreid herpesvirus (OsHV-1), has been killing Pacific oysters in countries ranging from France, and the UK to Spain and the US.
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