DAO 71:179-190 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/dao071179

Prevalence and analysis of Renibacterium salmoninarum infection among juvenile Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha in North Puget Sound

Linda D. Rhodes1,*, Colleen Durkin1,2, Shelly L. Nance1, Casimir A. Rice1

1Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, 2525 Montlake Blvd. East, Seattle, Washington 98112, USA
2Present address: School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA

ABSTRACT: Renibacterium salmoninarum causes bacterial kidney disease (BKD), a chronic and sometimes fatal disease of salmon and trout that could lower fitness in populations with high prevalences of infection. Prevalence of R. salmoninarum infection among juvenile Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha inhabiting neritic marine habitats in North Puget Sound, Washington, USA, was assessed in 2002 and 2003. Fish were collected by monthly surface trawl at 32 sites within 4 bays, and kidney infections were detected by a quantitative fluorescent antibody technique (qFAT). The sensitivity of the qFAT was within an order of magnitude of the quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) sensitivity. Prevalence of infection was classified by fish origin (marked/hatchery vs. unmarked/likely natural spawn), month of capture, capture location and stock origin. The highest percentages of infected fish (63.5 to 63.8%) and the greatest infection severity were observed for fish collected in Bellingham Bay. The lowest percentages were found in Skagit Bay (11.4 to 13.5%); however, there was no difference in prevalence between marked and unmarked fish among the capture locations. The optimal logistic regression model of infection probabilities identified the capture location of Bellingham Bay as the strongest effect, and analysis of coded wire tagged (CWT) fish revealed that prevalence of infection was associated with the capture location and not with the originating stock. These results suggest that infections can occur during the early marine life stages of Chinook salmon that may be due to common reservoirs of infection or horizontal transmission among fish stocks.

KEY WORDS: Renibacterium salmoninarum · Hatchery fish interactions · Logistic regression modeling · Quantitative fluorescent antibody technique · qPCR

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