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By Laws

Koi Health Advisors and AKCA Project KHV

Cold Water Koi Keeping

Coming out of Winter

Richard E. Carlson

The purpose of this section is to introduce the KHA to the effects of water temperature on the ecology of the pond and physiology of the fish. It is important to understand the dynamics of the pond as the seasons change and as the conditions in and around the pond change. For the purposes of this section, we will focus on the approaching spring season.


This course will teach the KHA how cold water and changing water temperatures affect the health of koi and also the ecology of the pond as they emerge from winter.


As spring approaches in those climes that endure winter, we need to consider what is happening in our ponds as the water warms and the fish become more active. First, let’s look at water temperatures, portrayed as the “Magic Numbers” and we will start from colder and work our way to warmer water.

Let’s start from a point where our fish are in torpor and the water temps are just beginning to rise. We also need to realize that there is an appreciable amount of ammonia in the water (primarily from respiration) but the fish have been protected by the cold water which makes ammonia far less toxic.


Click here for the rest of this article in printable copy of the KHA article on Cold Water Koi Keeping

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Proposals submitted to AKCA’s Project KHV

and their dispensation

As of January 2007


There have been 12 proposals made to Project KHV requesting funding of over $344,000 in aggregate, 6 of which were unsolicited, three were approved and totaled ~ $30K, eight rejected and one withdrawn. See:



Solicited proposals:

  1. In early 2006, Project KHV issued its first RFP (Request For Proposals) for a Phase 1 KHV (koi herpesvirus) education program to inform hobbyists about KHV.  That RFP resulted in three proposals. One was chosen for funding at slightly over $13K, the announcement and details for which have appeared in KOI USA in the last three issues of 2006.
  2. In the fall of 2006 a proposal was received in response to the Phase 2 RFP that sought proposals for a Koi Dealer Best Health Practices Certification program.  That proposal was later withdrawn.
  3. In late 2006, the Steering Committee concluded that the parameters of the Phase 2 RFP needed better definition.  Proposals for market research were requested; two were received.  The Committee chose a $3K proposal and that work is ongoing and producing good results.


Unsolicited proposals:

  1. In early 2005 NC State Univ., College of Vet. Med. submitted a ~$14K proposal to pursue two KHV DNA vaccines.  The proposal was approved in mid-2005 and a first portion of the funding was sent.  The NC State group subsequently received a much larger government grant, a portion of which duplicated the Project KHV funding.  They returned the Project KHV money but the work continues and vaccines are awaiting efficacy testing.
  2. In late 2005 a proposal was submitted for the development of a combined SVC and KHV vaccine.  The proposal was evaluated by experts outside of Project KHV and was not funded as the review concluded that the proposal was technically risky.
  3. In early 2006 a proposal for a killed-virus vaccine program was received.  The program was reviewed and rejected as the principal investigator was unable to provide any necessary commitments or visibility with regard to activities or reporting.
  4. In early 2006 a proposal to study the manipulation of a single water parameter to inactivate waterborne KHV (with fish in the system) was received.  The proposal was reviewed and rejected for a variety of reasons, one of which was that the window of apparent opportunity to manipulate the parameter was so small (where it inactivated the virus but did not kill the fish) and required such precision that it was beyond the capability of virtually all hobbyists and dealers.  Plus, there was a strong possibility of damaging the fish within that window.
  5. In the fall of 2006 a proposal was received for hobbyists to create a Koi Dealer Best Health Practices Certification program.  While the program had merit, it was ultimately rejected for two major reasons: 1) The AKCA would never approve of being party to an effort to actively control commercial aspects of the hobby, and 2) the koi dealers have a long history of being strongly against direct hobby intervention in the conduct of their business.
  6. In the fall of 2006 a proposal was submitted to determine where KHV is “hiding” when it’s not causing disease.  This proposal was met with significant interest as this is a question that is key to understanding and controlling the virus. However when reviewed by the newly formed Proposal Review Panel, they found it to be unsuitable for funding as the study was judged to be inadequately described and the virus to be studied was a modified version of the wild-type with insufficient studies done or included to show that results would be applicable to the wild-type.


Click here for a printable copy of this article.....

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AKCA Certified Koi Health Advisors in our club:
Gene & Phyllis Anderson

AKCA KHV Project

Click here to go to the AKCA KHV Website

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KHV Vaccine Development World Wide

A status report by the Project KHV team

November 2006

Seven groups (world wide) are reported to be working on KHV vaccines: Hebrew-University-Hadassah Medical School in Israel; Henderson Morley of Brittan, North Carolina State University-College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, the Mie University and the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology in Japan, and Novartis in Canada.


The techniques being pursued include killed virus, attenuated live virus and DNA, and delivery methods range from oral preparations to immersion and injection. Hopefully some of these projects will be successful and we will have several usable vaccines in the not too distant future.


Even one would be nice.


The problems that face the vaccine developers are many. The two biggies are technical and regulatory. The challenge of developing and producing an effective vaccine is only the beginning. Once developed, there are government approvals to be reckoned with and these can be every bit as challenging as the development. Typically, government regulations have two important aspects: safety and effectiveness.


A killed virus vaccine is typically the least expensive and quickest to develop. And with regard to safety, a killed vaccine must prove that the virus is, in fact, killed/inactivated and therefore not capable of infecting fish as well as demonstrate the vaccine and/or its adjuvant (stuff that enhances the desired reaction to the vaccine) does not precipitate an unfavorable immune response. Killed vaccines are relatively inexpensive to produce, but they may not trigger the most effective antiviral immune response.


A modified live virus is generally the next least expensive to develop and typically takes the next longest time to develop. It is, however frequently the most effective in producing a strong, long lasting effect. The rub with modified live virus vaccines comes in proving they are safe, i.e., proving that the modified virus will not revert to the form that can produce the disease. Proving

safety is reported to be a real bear on this type! Additionally, keeping the vaccine “alive” until it’s administered adds another layer of complexity and expense to a final product.


DNA vaccines are generally considered to be the vaccines of the future. A portion of the viral DNA (gene) is incorporated into plasmids and introduced into the host, in this case our koi or food carp. Once in the host, the viral DNA is incorporated into the host DNA. The theory is the host (carp) then manufactures the antigenic proteins of the viral coat resulting in a protective antibody response to the virus. Since only the viral gene(s) are injected rather than the whole virus, there is safety regarding potential spread of disease.


Unfortunately, not all DNA vaccines work to protect the host from viral diseaseThere is an ongoing debate regarding the safety of DNA vaccines. Major concerns with regards to safety are that 1) the viral DNA may interrupt the fish cell DNA and produce some disease, or 2) that the DNA may trigger an aberrant immune response in the fish that might be harmful. In regards to food animals, there are concerns that the vaccine DNA might end up in other bacteria where it could be transferred to non-target plants and animals. Debate and controversy regarding regulation and licensing of DNA based immunization continues.


Once developed, DNA vaccines are typically the least expensive to produce, but the regulatory process is essentially uncharted waters at this point as there are currently precious few DNA vaccines and that makes this part of the equation a large unknown.


Information reported about the specific groups working on KHV vaccine development is as follows:


Kovax, has been testing a modified live vaccine (developed by Perelberg, Kotler and others at the Hebrew-University-Hadassah Medical School) for two years and now has it approved for use within Israel. They report having vaccinated about 7 million carp within Israel in the year 2005 with very acceptable protection rates for both immersion and injection vaccinations.


There are also reports that they are trying to obtain approval to sell the vaccine outside Israel. We suspect the Israeli effort is ahead of the others contenders.

United Kingdom:

In October of this year, Henderson Morley plc, a UK pharmaceutical company, announced it has been working on a vaccine against Koi Carp Herpes virus for the past 10 months and is now ready to start field trials of a candidate vaccine in a collaboration with Hagerman Aquaculture Research Institute in Idaho under the supervision of the Institute Director, Professor Ron Hardy.


The report did not mention the type of vaccine nor the method of delivery.

United States:

A University of North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine team lead by Drs. Levine and Shivappa report they have two candidate DNA vaccines ready for initial efficacy testing. In 2005 Project KHV agreed to fund this vaccine research. After sending a first payment, they received money from a federal grant that also covered their work on KHV vaccine. They returned the money. So the work goes on and the money is  back in the fund, a good/good result.


In 2004, a funding effort by NAWGS and Dr. Erik Johnson reportedly raised over $50,000 for Dr. Branson Ritchie’s KHV vaccine efforts at the Univ. of GA. We have no information on what the status of that work is. We do know that a year or so ago, the group inadvertently developed a strain of KHV that would not reliably infect and kill fish, i.e., an attenuated virus.



In May of 2005 a press release reported that Tetsuro Yoshimura and Teruo Miyazaki at Mie University in Japan had developed an oral vaccine for KHV. The team gave koi feed incorporating a KHV liposome vaccine. The oral administration of vaccine resulted in antibodies five to 25 times greater than the usual levels. Compared with conventional methods of injecting vaccines, the newly developed method requires less time and work. The research team plans to mass-produce the oral vaccine and conduct a large-scale experiment to obtain authorization from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and other related ministries.


We have no specific information on the vaccine development reportedly underway at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology and associated with Dr. T. Aoki. It was this group that was the first to completely sequenced the KHV genome.



In a March 2006 press release, the government of Canada announced that, Novartis is developing an immunization strategy for the prevention of koi  erpesvirus.


While preventing KHV in koi carp is a priority for hobbyists and sellers to protect the breeding, export, wholesale and retail markets, the control of the disease will reduce the risk of infection in the food carp industry which is of great importance in developing nations. This project, with total estimated costs of $2.5 million, will receive up to $1.8 million from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over a five-year period.


Additionally, Novartis has acquired rights to a patent covering the use of DNA vaccines in fish and also to another patent covering a unique delivery methodology.


Project KHV sees all the work in KHV vaccines as extremely encouraging and believes the “push” in the vaccine area is logical for two major reasons: a) it is almost undoubtedly the best hope for effective control and possible eradication of the disease and b) it is the area most likely to produce good profits for any group that develops a successful vaccine.


Therefore we at Project KHV have concluded that while we will certainly continue tracking the progress of the various vaccine developments and will try to be helpful when and where we can, we will now concentrate our efforts elsewhere. We will pursue projects in areas that are also very important to the prevention and control of the disease but which are not nearly so likely to produce the return on investment that vaccines promise. These other areas include:

● Education - prevention and control

● Epidemiology (studying how the disease spreads)

● Etiology (or aetiology in the U.K. <grin>) – studying how the virus causes the disease

● Testing – better, safer, easier, cheaper and less invasive


We see progress in these areas as critical to our stated goals of near-term prevention and control and the longer-term eradication of the disease.

Toward this end we have funded a Phase 1 project that focuses on the education of koi dealers and hobbyists. It intends to prepare and deliver educational materials on prevention and control of the disease. This will be done in several ways (see: :

1. Regional presentations

2. Presentations at technical and trade meetings

3. Web-based information

4. Free printed and electronic information


The Phase 1 grant group is scheduled to start its public education efforts in March of 2007.


Watch the Project KHV web site for a schedule. See: .

Recently we released an updated fact sheet on KHV that was primarily the result of a literature survey and provides what is currently known, what is unknown and a brief but current best practices for preventing the disease. See:


Additionally we are soliciting and otherwise seeking projects that enhance our educational efforts, e.g., a Best Health Practices Certification program for koi retailers (see: ). We are also seeking proposals in the other areas, e.g., the study of where the virus persists when it’s not causing disease (latency and/or environmental persistence).


It’s not easy to find good, targeted programs to support. To date we have funded two requests but have turned down several others. We have our eyes on the goals and are working hard to make sure we get a reasonable bang for the buck. We are making progress but it’s certainly not time to let up. We need to build our fund so when we find projects that meet our criteria, we’ll

have the money to pursue them.


You know the drill. If you leave it up to someone else, it won’t get done. So please send us a check today. We will thank you in advance and we’ll keep working hard to make it happen and to keep you updated.


Make checks payable to AKCA Project KHV.

Send contributions to:

AKCA Project KHV

P.O. Box 4045

Oakhurst, CA 93644

Click here for a printable copy of this article

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AKCA Project KHV Update
From Sept/Oct 2006 KOIUSA

By Spike Cover


Project KHV recognized that, while eradication of KHV is the long-term goal of the project, near-term information on how to cope with the disease until a solution is found (i.e., almost certainly a vaccine) would be very helpful to the koi community. So while the original efforts were directed at research, more recently the focus has been broadened to include education.


In the last issue of KOI USA, we briefly described our Project’s newly approved education program. The team for that project is composed of the following prominent fish professionals (in alpha order):

Ruth Francis-Floyd, DVM – Univ. of FL
Andy Goodwin, PhD – Univ. of AR at Pine Bluff
Kathleen Hartman, Univ. of FL (principal investigator/team leader)
Tim Miller-Morgan, DVM – Oregon State Univ.
Denise Petty, DVM – Univ. of FL
Craig Watson, MS – Univ. of FL
Roy Yanong, VMD – Univ. of FL


The program will be a multi-regional KHV training and education program intended for U.S. koi and water garden retailers and wholesalers as well as koi hobbyists. There will be primary training sessions ("train-the-trainer") specifically geared for selected fish health specialists and veterinarians that have been identified by the investigators/collaborators as leaders and educators in their regions. These individuals will then lead the KHV education programs in their various regions.


Education material will be presented in a one-day seminar format with power point presentations, which will be provided to course participants on a CD-ROM. Course materials will also be available as handouts and via internet access through a web-link listed on the investigator and co-investigator/collaborator(s) institutional websites.

Topics covered in the one-day course will include:


Biology of Fish Health, including:

  a. Impact of water quality parameters on fish health

  b. General fish physiology

  c. Fish immune system

  d. Stress response


Koi Herpes Virus, including:

  e. History and distribution of KHV

  f. KHV etiology and modes of transmission

  g. Clinical signs of KHV

  h. Diagnostic procedures

  i. KHV management and control - Current recommendations

  j. Current status of KHV

  k. KHV: Facts and Fiction


Effective and practical fish biosecurity and quarantine practices

  l. Biosecurity protocols

 m. Quarantine procedures

  n. Sanitation and disinfection methods effective against KHV


Additionally, an intensive course will be offered in conjunction with trade meetings such as those sponsored by Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), and American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA). At these meetings a short (1-2 hour) educational program on KHV and biosecurity will be presented. Participants will be given handouts and a CD with program materials.


A website will also be developed containing program materials and current information on KHV and appropriate biosecurity practices for the retailer, wholesaler and hobbyist. The website will be accessible through investigator/collaborator affiliated institutional websites.


The educational sessions in the regions are scheduled to start in March of 2007 and run through August of that year.


In the meantime, the Project KHV team will be seeking additional projects and programs to support. So that we may keep this effort going, we ask for your support and donations to help stop this serious threat to our hobby and our fun. Please visit