DAO 44:75-78 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/dao044075

Survival of the North American strain of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) in filtered seawater and seawater containing ovarian fluid, crude oil and serum-enriched culture medium

R. M. Kocan1,*, P. K. Hershberger1, N. E. Elder2

1School of Fisheries, Box 355100, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA
2Western Fisheries Research Center, Marrowstone Island Field Station, 616 Marrowstone Rd, Nordland, Washington 98358-9633, USA

ABSTRACT: The North American strain of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (NA-VHSV) could be recovered for up to 40 h in natural filtered seawater (27 ppt) with a 50% loss of infectivity after approximately 10 h at 15°C. Addition of 10 ppb North Slope crude oil to the seawater had no effect on virus survival. However, when various concentrations of teleost ovarian fluid were added to seawater, virus could be recovered after 72 h at 0.01% ovarian fluid and after 96 h at 1.0%. When cell culture medium supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum was added to the seawater, 100% of the virus could be recovered for the first 15 d and 60% of the virus remained after 36 d. These findings quantify NA-VHSV infectivity in natural seawater and demonstrate that ovarian fluid, which occurs naturally during spawning events, significantly prolongs the survival and infectivity of the virus. The extended stabilization of virus in culture medium supplemented with serum allows for low titer field samples to be collected and transported in an unfrozen state without significant loss of virus titer.


KEY WORDS: Viral hemorrhagic septicemia · VHSV · Virus survival · Seawater · Ovarian fluid · Crude oil


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