- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2015

RESTON, Va. (AP) - Scientists say the invasive northern snakehead fish carries bacteria that could harm other creatures.

The U.S. Geological Survey says some snakeheads caught in Virginia waters of the Potomac River south of Washington were infected with an unknown species of mycobacteria.

Mycobacteria can cause chronic disease in a variety of animals, including mammals. But Virginia state fisheries biologist John Odenkirk said Thursday there is no indication of a health risk to people who eat infected snakeheads that have been cooked.

USGS veterinarian Christine Densmore says more research is needed to determine the potential effects of the bacteria on the snakehead population and other species.

The predatory fish can breathe air and survive on land. They’ve been reported in at least nine states since they were discovered in California in 1977.

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