DAO 91:189-200 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02262

Epidemiological investigation into the re-emergence and control of an outbreak of infectious salmon anaemia in the Shetland Islands, Scotland

Alexander G. Murray*, Lorna A. Munro, I. Stuart Wallace, Barbara Berx, Daniel Pendrey, David Fraser, Rob S. Raynard

Marine Laboratory, Marine Scotland Science, 375 Victoria Road, Aberdeen, AB11 9DB, UK

ABSTRACT: Infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) is an orthomyxoviral disease, primarily affecting marine-phase farmed Atlantic salmon, which can result in high levels of mortality. ISA first emerged in Norway in the 1980s and subsequently has occurred in Canada, the USA, the Faeroe Islands and Chile. An outbreak occurred in Scotland in 1998–1999, but was eradicated at a cost of over £20M. The epidemiology of a new outbreak of ISA in the Scottish Shetland Islands during 2008–2009 is described. Six sites have been confirmed ISA-positive. Spread of the virus via transport of fish between marine sites, harvest vessels, smolts and wild fish appears to have been of little or no importance, with spread primarily associated with marine water currents. The use of management areas by Marine Scotland to control the event appears to have been effective in restricting spread to a small area. This localised outbreak contrasts with the 1998–1999 outbreak that spread over a wide geographic area with transported fish and harvest vessels. The development and application of industry codes of good practice, good husbandry and biosecurity practices, limited marine site-to-site movement of live fish and improved disinfection of vessels and processing plant waste that occurred subsequent to the 1998–1999 outbreak may explain the localised spread of infection in 2008–2009. Depopulation of confirmed sites has been achieved within 7 wk (mean = 3.7 wk); however, it is likely that subclinical infection persisted undetected for months on at least 1 site. The origin of the 2008–2009 outbreak remains unknown. Potential sources include evolution from a local reservoir of infection or importation. Synchronous fallowing of management areas, with good husbandry and biosecurity, reduces the risk of ISA recurring. Movement of fish between sites in different management areas represents the greatest risk of regional-scale spread, should this occur.


KEY WORDS: Infectious salmon anaemia · ISA · Epidemiology · Control · Eradication · Hydrodynamics · Harvest · Scotland


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Cite this article as: Murray AG, Munro LA, Wallace IS, Berx B, Pendrey D, Fraser D, Raynard RS (2010) Epidemiological investigation into the re-emergence and control of an outbreak of infectious salmon anaemia in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. Dis Aquat Org 91:189-200. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02262

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