DAO 41:225-229 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/dao041225

Susceptibility of juvenile Atlantic cod Gadus morhua to viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus isolated from wild-caught Atlantic cod

M. Snow*, C. O. Cunningham, I. R. Bricknell

FRS Marine Laboratory, PO Box 101, Victoria Road, Aberdeen AB11 9DB, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT: A European strain of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) isolated from wild-caught cod Gadus morhua (H16/7/95) was shown to cause clinical disease and mortality in excess of 80% in juvenile Atlantic cod when administered by the intra-peritoneal (i.p.) route. No virus was recovered from cod cohabiting with experimentally infected fish at a ratio of 1:1, and no VHSV-associated mortality was demonstrated following immersion infection. External signs of disease in cod were the presence of exophthalmia and ascites. Virus was identified as VHSV by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and was recovered from both brain and organ pools (kidney, liver and spleen) of 100% of i.p. infected cod mortalities. Virus was also detected using an indirect immunofluorescence test on tissue imprints of kidney, liver, spleen and brain taken from moribund fish. The fact that cod were not susceptible to VHSV following waterborne exposure raises important questions surrounding the propagation, maintenance and impact of a naturally occurring reservoir of virus in the marine environment.


KEY WORDS: Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus · VHSV · Novirhabdovirus · Cod


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