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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 42:17-26 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/dao042017

Virulence and nucleotide sequence analysis of marine viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus following in vivo passage in rainbow trout Onchorhynchus mykiss

M. Snow*, C. O. Cunningham

Fisheries Research Services Marine Laboratory, PO Box 101, Victoria Road, Aberdeen AB11 9DB, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT: A marine isolate of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) (860/94) was passaged in triplicate through sequential batches of rainbow trout via an intra-peritoneal infection route, without amplification in tissue culture. Following 5 passages, the VHSV glycoprotein gene was amplified directly from fish tissue homogenates and the consensus sequence compared to that of the original tissue culture isolate. Virus was also recovered directly from pools of kidney and spleen material after 5 passage events, and its virulence compared to that of unpassaged material by intra-peritoneal infection. Following passage in rainbow trout, isolate 860/94 exhibited a higher virulence for rainbow trout than unpassaged material. Sequence comparisons identified no difference in the consensus sequence of the glycoprotein gene following in vivo passage. The mechanisms responsible for the observed increase in virulence of isolate 860/94 following passage in rainbow trout thus remain unknown. The possibility that viral isolates may exhibit an increased virulence following passage in novel host species does, however, have important implications with regard to the epidemiology of this important fish pathogen.

KEY WORDS: Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus · VHSV · Novirhabdovirus · Rainbow trout · In vivo passage · Glycoprotein

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