HUNDREDS of fish at a pet shop have had to be killed after contracting herpes.

The Koi at Swallow Aquatics, in London Road, Rayleigh, were found to have Koi herpesvirus (KHV).

KHV is a viral disease which can quickly spread between Koi and can wipe out whole schools of fish.

There is no cure and all those affected have to be killed.

A similar outbreak has occurred at Canvey Lake, but it is not thought the two incidents are linked.

KHV poses no risk to human health.

A Fish Health Inspectorate spokesperson said: "Following the detection and confirmation of Koi herpesvirus (KHV) disease at a retail premises in Essex, and in order to prevent the spread of the disease, the infected fish were humanely destroyed, and the holding facilities disinfected.

"The business has worked in close cooperation with the Government’s Fish Health Inspectorate in ensuring the effective control of this disease outbreak."

Gavin Marlow, operations manager at Swallow Aquatics, said: "On the 16th of July we were diagnosed with KHV (Koi Herpes Virus) in an isolated area of our premises by CEFAS (Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science).

"We were fully cooperative with the authorities in culling the necessary fish, sterilising and disinfecting the appropriate system.

"We believe the virus to of entered our premises on a shipment we received on the 14th of June 2018.

"We are urging any customers who have purchased Koi from us between this date and the 6th of July to contact us on if they have any concerns.

"If you do suspect you have KHV in your pond, then you will also be required by law to contact CEFAS

"We can assure you that we are now back up and running and have been fortunate enough to find a new supplier of stunning Japanese Koi."

For more information on KHV and symptoms, please visit