Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) was diagnosed in rainbow trout in the UK in May 2006. VHS virus (VHSV) was isolated from fingerlings showing typical histopathological lesions at a single rainbow trout farm site experiencing high mortality. The virus was confirmed as VHSV by serological and molecular biological tests. Phylogenetic analysis based on the complete glycoprotein gene sequence revealed that the isolate was closely related (99% nucleotide identity) to several Danish isolates from 1991 to 2000 and was assigned to VHSV genogroup Ia. The pathogenicity of the isolate was determined in infection experiments using rainbow trout fry. Following waterborne challenge, cumulative mortalities reached 96.67-100% by 12days post-infection. This represents the first isolation of a pathogenic freshwater VHSV in the UK.