UK oysters develop killer herpes virus

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Oyster beds at low tide - Weymouth, Dorset

British oysters have been infected by a killer form of the herpes virus, sparking a ban on movements of the seafood.

The outbreak, at an oyster farm in Poole Harbour, is being investigated by The Fish Health Inspectorate.

The discovery comes just months after almost 80 per cent of the oysters in shellfish farms around the French coast were wiped out by the virus, reports the Daily Mirror.

The herpes found in Pacific oysters occurs in water warmer than 16C and there is no cure.

A spokesman for the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science said there "were no implications for human health", reports the BBC.

"It is important that the disease is contained to prevent its spread to other oyster-growing areas in Great Britain."

Previous outbreaks – in 2010 in Whitstable, Kent, and in 2012 in the River Blackwater, Essex – were contained after movement bans were imposed.