This may have an economic, environmental and social impact on all regions of Iraq, where fish is one of the most popular and popular foods, especially the well-known method of cooking in Iraq, known as “masgouf”, which spreads in various Iraqi cities and towns on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
A spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture, Hamid Al-Nayef, and if he wanted to reassure the Iraqi citizens, by emphasizing that the viral disease has not reached the stage of spread, and that the situation is under control, he said that “according to research and medical reports, there are no repercussions or impact of this virus on human health.” If infected fish are eaten.
However, this news directly affected the level of fish sales in all regions of Iraq, and the decrease in their prices in restaurants and points of sale.
The virus discovered on fish in Iraq is KOI-KHV, which infects carp fish that are farmed in productive pools in Iraq. When these fish are infected with this virus, the death rate of fish reaches nearly 100 percent, which is a It increases the fear of buying fish from the points that you sell non-living, fearing that the non-living ones have died as a result of being infected with the virus.
Millions of tons of Iraqi fish have been destroyed during the past years, due to various diseases, especially in the middle Euphrates region, where the phenomenon of fish production pools has grown, after the decline in the levels of river flows and the increase in drought and desertification during the past years, and consequently the lack of Iraqi public production of fish. Fish is about 40 percent of the average annual production, which prompted the United Nations to form a consultative cooperation office with the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture, only to help it preserve its fish wealth, which meets a high percentage of Iraqi food needs.
The modern herpes virus causes the appearance of white spots in the gill tissue, kidneys and brain of infected fish, and the main reason is due to the lack of dissolved oxygen in the water of the swimming pools in which the fish are cultured, in addition to low temperatures below 24 degrees Celsius on average, as confirms the animal virologist Thomas Whale in a previous study on the regions where this virus is spread.
Nutrition expert Dr. Raed Hajjaj explained in an interview with Sky News Arabia the expected health effects of this virus that infects fish and its role in the food behaviors that Iraqi citizens follow, “as a direct reflection of eating fish infected with this virus, as it is not a health disease or physical infection on this virus, But medical science is not sure about the long-term effects of eating meat infected with this type of virus, especially for people with low levels of immunity.”
The nutrition expert continues his conversation with Sky News Arabia, “The general fear of the virus is multiplying, due to the psychological and social effects of the Corona virus, as the social space has become afflicted with a general shock from any male or types of viruses.”
Since the beginning of this fall, the Iraqi media and social media platforms have circulated hundreds of videos from many riverine regions of Iraq, showing the death of millions of fish, which were floating on water bodies and inside productive pools in central and southern Iraq.