The discovery of whirling disease in Rocky View Countys (RVC) Lott Creek on Oct. 6 marks the first time the disease has been spotted outside of Banff National Park. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), whirling disease poses no risk to human health or food safety.
Whirling disease is an infectious disease of finfish, said Tammy Jarbeau, media relations with CFIA, in an email to Rocky View Weekly. To date, there has been one confirmed case of whirling disease in water bodies in RVC, upstream from the confluence of Lott Creek and the Elbow River.
According to Jarbeau, trout and mountain whitefish found in Alberta are susceptible to infection, but may not always show signs of the disease. Affected fish may exhibit a whirling swimming pattern, display skeletal deformities of the body or head, or have a tail that appears darker or even black.
Whirling disease can be spread by moving finfish, bait, contaminated equipment or contaminated water, she said.
People can control the spread of whirling disease by cleaning equipment between uses and avoid transporting those items from one body of water to another.