What is Whirling Disease?
Whirling disease affects fish in the trout and salmon family. By damaging cartilage, whirling disease can kill young fish directly, or cause infected fish to swim in an uncontrolled whirling motion. This can make it impossible for them to escape predators or to effectively seek food.

Whirling disease is caused by a microscopic parasite called Myxobolus cerebralis. The parasite was introduced to the United States from Europe in the 1950s and has spread to many streams across the United States. The whirling disease parasite has been found in wild fish and fish hatcheries in 25 states.

Once established in a stream, the parasite cannot be eradicated, nor can its worm host, without significantly damaging the ecosystem. Whirling disease has no known human health effects. More.

What is the Whirling Disease Initiative?
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The Montana Water Center advances water research, information, education, and problem-solving partnerships throughout Montana and beyond. It is one of 54 Centers in the nation collectively known as the Water Resources Research Institutes. The Whirling Disease Initiative is one project of the Montana Water Center. To learn more about the Water Center and its programs, visit: http://watercenter.montana.edu.


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IMAGE LIBRARY
Visit the Image Library for more whirling disease photos.
Wild Trout 2001



ANNOUNCEMENTS

Whirling Disease Initiative
Final Report 2009

Download the Final Report
[7.5 MB PDF]

2009 Annual Whirling Disease Symposium Proceedings
Download the 2009 Proceedings
[144 KB PDF]

2008 WDI Annual Report
Download the 2008 Annual Report
[10.3 MB PDF]

Check out the Data Repository
http://data.whirlingdisease.montana.edu

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