Hypervirulent Aeromonas hydrophila (vAh) has emerged as the etiologic agent of epidemic outbreaks of motile septicemia (MAS) in high-density aquaculture of farmed carp in China and catfish in the United States, which has caused millions of tons of lost fish. We conducted a global survey to better understand the evolution, geographical distribution, and phylogeny of vAh. isolates were isolated from fish that showed clinical symptoms of MAS, and pure cultures were screened for the ability to utilize -inositol as the sole carbon source. A total of 113 inositol-utilizing bacterial strains were included in this study, including additional strains obtained from previously published culture collections. Based on a phylogeny, this collection included 66 A. hydrophila isolates, 48 of which were vAh. This collection also included five new vAh isolates from diseased Pangas catfish (Pangasius pangasius) and striped catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) obtained in Cambodia and Vietnam, respectively. Genome sequences were generated from representative vAh and non-vAh isolates to evaluate the potential for lateral genetic transfer of the inositol catabolism pathway. Phylogenetic analyses of each of the nine genes required for -inositol utilization revealed the close affiliation of vAh strains regardless of geographic origin and suggested lateral genetic transfer of this catabolic pathway from an Enterobacter species. Prediction of virulence factors was conducted to determine differences between vAh and non-vAh strains in terms of virulence and secretion systems. Core genome phylogenetic analyses on vAh isolates and spp. disease isolates (55 in total) were conducted to evaluate the evolutionary relationships among vAh and other sp. isolates, which supported the clonal nature of vAh isolates. This global survey of vAh brought together scientists that study fish disease to evaluate the evolution, geographical distribution, phylogeny, and hosts of vAh and other sp. isolates. In addition to vAh isolates from China and the United States, four new vAh isolates were isolated from the lower Mekong River basin in Cambodia and Vietnam, indicating the significant threat of vAh to modern aquaculture and the need for improved biosecurity to prevent vAh spread.