Whirling disease has been confirmed in the Crowsnest River by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in early April.
The disease has been detected at the confluence of the Crowsnest River at Todd Creek, upstream of Rock Creek and downstream from the Hwy. 3 bridge near Lundbreck.
The infectious disease caused by the parasite Myxobolus cerebralis attacks young salmonids such as salmon and trout and leaves them deformed and neurologically damaged.
Whirling disease is spread through contact with a freshwater worm and infected fish. It cannot be treated.
People can also introduce the worm through contaminated equipment or water.
Once infected, the fish may show deformities such as indentations in the head due to infected and deteriorating cartilage and their tail may appear dark or almost black. Infected fish also often swim in a whirling or circular pattern.
The most vulnerable to the disease include the westslope, rainbow and cutthroat trout.