DAO 38:163-168 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/dao038163

Experimental susceptibility of turbot Scophthalmus maximus to viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus isolated from cultivated turbot

M. Snow*, D. A. Smail

FRS Marine Laboratory, PO Box 101, Victoria Road, Torry, Aberdeen AB11 9DB, Scotland, UK

ABSTRACT: Juvenile pathogen-free turbot were infected with a viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) isolate recovered from turbot cultivated on the island of Gigha, West Scotland. Mortality of 100% was recorded in fish infected via the intra-peritoneal (i.p.) route. Horizontal transmission of VHSV in sea water was demonstrated by cohabitation of naive fish with i.p. infected fish at a ratio of 1:1. The total cumulative average mortality in cohabiting fish was 60% by 60 d post-infection. Turbot infected via an immersion route exhibited a cumulative average mortality of 71% by the end of the experiment. VHSV identified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was recovered from both organ (kidney and spleen) and brain samples of individual fish that died following infection by all experimental routes. These findings pose significant implications regarding the persistence of VHSV and its role in limiting natural populations of marine fish species. In addition, the establishment of infection models for the transmission of VHSV in sea water is of fundamental importance to the development of anti-VHSV vaccines in important commercial species such as turbot.

KEY WORDS: Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus · VHSV · Rhabdovirus · Novirhabdovirus · Turbot

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