DAO 123:19-27 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03066

Development of a PCR assay to detect cyprinid herpesvirus 1 in koi and common carp

Pedro H. O. Viadanna1,5, Tim Miller-Morgan2, Trace Peterson2, Keith Way3, David M. Stone3, Gary D. Marty4, Fabiana Pilarski5, Ronald P. Hedrick6, Thomas B. Waltzek1,* 

1Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608, USA
2Department of Microbiology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-3804, USA
3Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Barrack Road, The Nothe, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8UB, UK
4Animal Health Centre, Ministry of Agriculture, 1767 Angus Campbell Rd., Abbotsford, British Columbia V3G 2M3, Canada
5Aquaculture Center, CAUNESP, Pathology of Aquatic Organism Laboratory, Rod. Paulo Donato Castellane s/n, Jaboticabal, SP, CEP: 14.884-900, Brazil
6Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Cyprinid herpesvirus 1 (CyHV1) infects all scaled and color varieties of common carp Cyprinus carpio, including koi. While it is most often associated with unsightly growths known as ‘carp pox,’ the underlying lesion (epidermal hyperplasia) can arise from a variety of disease processes. CyHV1-induced epidermal hyperplasia may occur transiently in response to water temperature, and thus histopathology cannot be used in isolation to assess CyHV1 infection status. To address this problem, here we describe a PCR assay targeted to the putative thymidine kinase gene of CyHV1. The PCR assay generates a 141 bp amplicon and reliably detects down to 10 copies of control plasmid DNA sequence (analytic sensitivity). The PCR does not cross-detect genomic DNA from cyprinid herpesvirus 2 and 3 (analytic specificity). The CyHV1 PCR effectively detected viral DNA in koi and common carp sampled from various locations in the UK, USA, Brazil, and Japan. Viral DNA was detected in both normal appearing and grossly affected epidermal tissues from koi experiencing natural epizootics. The new CyHV1 PCR provides an additional approach to histopathology for the rapid detection of CyHV1. Analysis of the thymidine kinase gene sequences determined for 7 PCR-positive carp originating from disparate geographical regions identified 3 sequence types, with 1 type occurring in both koi and common carp.


KEY WORDS: Cyprinus carpio · Specificity · Sensitivity


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Cite this article as: Viadanna PHO, Miller-Morgan T, Peterson T, Way K and others (2017) Development of a PCR assay to detect cyprinid herpesvirus 1 in koi and common carp. Dis Aquat Org 123:19-27. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03066

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