USDA Announces Federal Order to Prevent the Entry of Tilapia Lake Virus into the United States

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing a Federal Order to prevent the entry or introduction of Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) into the United States.

This Federal Order requires that imported shipments of all live fish, fertilized eggs and gametes from TiLV-susceptible species now have a USDA import permit, official health certificate and veterinary inspection. 

The TiLV–susceptible species are:

  • Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)
  • commercial hybrid tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus x Oreochromis aureus)
  • red hybrid tilapia (Oreochromis ) and
  • wild tilapia (Sarotherodon galilaeus)

TiLV is a deadly disease of farmed and wild tilapia, and it poses a serious threat to U.S. agriculture.  TiLV does not affect humans, nor is it a food safety concern.  Signs of the disease in tilapia include cloudy or bulging eyes, skin lesions such as darkening, bruising, ulcers or protrusion of the gills, and abdominal swelling. Fish may be slow-moving and off feed.  There are no treatments or vaccines for the disease at this time.

TiLV was first detected in the United States in March 2019.  The disease was quickly contained and eradicated.

The Federal order may be viewed at and is effective December 12, 2019.