DAO 111:219-227 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02761

New disease records for hatchery-reared sturgeon. I. Expansion of frog virus 3 host range into Scaphirhynchus albus 

Thomas B. Waltzek1,*, Debra L. Miller2, Matthew J. Gray2, Bruce Drecktrah3, Jeffrey T. Briggler4, Beth MacConnell5, Crystal Hudson6, Lacey Hopper6, John Friary7, Susan C. Yun8, Kirsten V. Malm8, E. Scott Weber8, Ronald P. Hedrick

1Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
2Center for Wildlife Health, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
3Blind Pony State Fish Hatchery, Missouri Department of Conservation, Sweet Springs, MO 65351, USA
4Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City, MO 65109, USA
5Headwaters Fish Pathology, Bozeman, MT 59715, USA
6Bozeman Fish Health Center, Bozeman, MT 59718, USA
7Department of Epidemiology, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
8Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: In 2009, juvenile pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus, reared at the Blind Pony State Fish Hatchery (Missouri, USA) to replenish dwindling wild stocks, experienced mass mortality. Histological examination revealed extensive necrosis of the haematopoietic tissues, and a virus was isolated from affected organs in cell culture and then observed by electron microscopy. Experimental infection studies revealed that the virus is highly pathogenic to juvenile pallid sturgeon, one of several species of sturgeon currently listed as Endangered. The DNA sequence of the full length major capsid protein gene of the virus was identical to that of the species Frog virus 3 (FV3), the type species for the genus Ranavirus, originally isolated from northern leopard frog Lithobates pipiens. Although FV3 infections and epizootics in amphibians and reptiles are well documented, there is only 1 prior report of a natural infection of FV3 in fish. Our results illustrate the broad potential host range for FV3, with the known potential to cause significant mortality in poikilothermic vertebrates across 3 taxonomic classes including bony fishes, anuran and caudate amphibians, and squamate and testudine reptiles.


KEY WORDS: Iridovirus · Ranavirus · Frog virus 3 · Pallid sturgeon · Phylogeny


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Cite this article as: Waltzek TB, Miller DL, Gray MJ, Drecktrah B and others (2014) New disease records for hatchery-reared sturgeon. I. Expansion of frog virus 3 host range into Scaphirhynchus albus . Dis Aquat Org 111:219-227. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02761

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