DAO 109:87-97 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02706

Spatio-temporal risk factors for viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) in Danish aquaculture

Britt Bang Jensen1,4,*, Annette Kjær Ersbøll2, Henrik Korsholm3, Helle Frank Skall1,5, Niels Jørgen Olesen1,6 

1National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark, 8200 Århus N, Denmark
2University of Southern Denmark, National Institute of Public Health, 1353 København K, Denmark
3Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, Team Aquaculture, 7100 Vejle, Denmark
4Present address: Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Section of Epidemiology, 0106 Oslo, Norway
5Present address: Aarhus University, Department of Animal Science, 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark
6Present address: National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark, 1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) is an economically very important fish disease in the northern hemisphere. When the VHS virus was first isolated in Denmark 50 yr ago, more than 80% of the 800 Danish fish farms were considered to be infected, but vigilant surveillance and eradication programmes led to a drastic reduction in prevalence, and finally, to complete eradication of VHS. Denmark thus obtained official status as an approved VHS-free member state within the European Union in November 2013. Data on outbreaks within the country have been collected since 1970, and here we combined these data with the geographical coordinates of fish farms to identify clusters of high disease prevalence and other risk factors. Our analyses revealed a statistically significant cluster in the southwestern part of the country, which persisted throughout the study period. Being situated within such a cluster was a significant risk factor for VHS. For freshwater rainbow trout farms situated inland, the number of upstream farms was a determining risk factor for VHS, as was distance to the nearest VHS-infected farm and year. Whether the farm used fresh or marine water in production did not have any influence on the risk of VHS, when accounting for whether the farm was situated inside a cluster of high risk. This information can be used when implementing risk-based surveillance programmes.


KEY WORDS: VHSV · Rainbow trout · Oncorhynchus mykiss · Disease surveillance · Spatial analysis · Eradication · Denmark


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Cite this article as: Bang Jensen B, Ersbøll AK, Korsholm H, Skall HF, Olesen NJ (2014) Spatio-temporal risk factors for viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) in Danish aquaculture. Dis Aquat Org 109:87-97. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02706

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