DAO 47:87-99 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/dao047087

An outbreak of VHSV (viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus) infection in farmed Japanese flounder Paralichthys olivaceus in Japan

Tadashi Isshiki1,*, Toyohiko Nishizawa2, Tatsuya Kobayashi3, Taizou Nagano1, Teruo Miyazaki3

1Kagawa Prefectural Fisheries Experiment Station, Takamatsu, 761-0111, Japan
2Faculty of Applied Biological Science, Hiroshima University, Higashihiroshima, 739-8528, Japan
3Faculty of Bioresources, Mie University, 1515 Kamihama, Tsu, 514-8507, Japan

ABSTRACT: A rhabdoviral disease occurred in farmed populations of market sized Japanese flounder (hirame) Paralichthys olivaceus in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan in 1996. The causative agent was identified as viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) based on morphological, immunological, and genetic analyses. Diseased fish that were artificially injected with a representative virus isolate showed the same pathological signs and high mortality as observed in the natural outbreak. This is the first report of an outbreak of VHSV infection in cultured fish in Japan. Clinical signs of diseased fish included dark body coloration, an expanded abdomen due to ascites, congested liver, splenomegaly, and a swollen kidney. Myocardial necrosis was most prominent and accompanied by inflammatory reactions. Necrotic lesions also occurred in the liver, spleen and hematopoietic tissue, and were accompanied by circulatory disturbances due to cardiac failure. Hemorrhagic lesions did not always appear in the lateral musculature. Transmission electron microscopy revealed many rhabdovirus particles and associated inclusion bodies containing nucleocapsids in the necrotized myocardium. The histopathological findings indicated that the necrotizing myocarditis could be considered a pathognomonic sign of VHSV infection in Japanese flounder.

KEY WORDS: Viral hemorrhagic septicemia · Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus · Paralichthys olivaceus · Japanese flounder · Hirame · Necrotizing myocarditis

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