DAO 116:93-101 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02908

First isolation of a rhabdovirus from perch Perca fluviatilis in Switzerland

Thomas Wahli1,*, Laure Bellec2, Beat von Siebenthal1, Joëlle Cabon2, Heike Schmidt-Posthaus1, Thierry Morin

1Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology, University of Bern, Laenggassstrasse 122, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
2French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety, Ploufragan-Plouzané Laboratory, Viral Disease of Fish Unit, European University of Brittany, Technopôle Brest Iroise, CS 10070, 29 280 Plouzané, France
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Perca fluviatilis is a fish species of increasing interest to the Swiss fish farming industry. In recent years, recirculation systems have been specifically set up to increase production. In one of these farms, abnormal spiral swimming associated with elevated mortalities occurred in repeated batches of imported perch shortly after stocking on several occasions. No bacterial or parasitic etiology was detected, but a virus grown in bluegill fry (BF-2) cells was identified as perch rhabdovirus. Subsequent investigations of other samples suggested a viral tropism for the central nervous system (CNS). Phylogenetic analysis of the partial N and entire G gene sequences positioned this isolate in genogroup C of the species Perch rhabdovirus, with high nucleotide and amino acid (aa) sequence identities with the DK5533 strain isolated in Denmark in 1989. Comparative studies using other closely related isolates allowed the distinction of 2 serological patterns among perch rhabdoviruses and the identification of a proline substitution by a serine in position 147 of the glycoprotein potentially involved in antigenic differentiation. Even if perch imported onto the farm tested negative by virus isolation prior to transport, they may have been the origin of this outbreak since CNS tissue was not included in the samples that were analyzed. Another possibility might be a sub-clinical infection with a viral load in resident fish too low to be detected. This study reports the first isolation of a perch rhabdovirus in Switzerland, and emphasizes the necessity of optimizing diagnostic tools that facilitate better control of the risks associated with fish translocation.


KEY WORDS: Perca fluviatilis · Perch rhabdovirus · IFAT · Phylogenetic analysis · Serogroup


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Cite this article as: Wahli T, Bellec L, von Siebenthal B, Cabon J, Schmidt-Posthaus H, Morin T (2015) First isolation of a rhabdovirus from perch Perca fluviatilis in Switzerland. Dis Aquat Org 116:93-101. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02908

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