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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 54:175-186 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/dao054175

Four years of monitoring for viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus in marine waters around the United Kingdom

P. F. Dixon1,*, S. Avery2, E. Chambers1, S. Feist1, H. Mandhar2, L. Parry3, D. M. Stone1, H. K. Strømmen4, J. K. Thurlow2, C. Tsin-yee Lui4, K. Way1

1CEFAS Weymouth Laboratory, Barrack Road, The Nothe, Weymouth DT4 8UB, United Kingdom
2Department of Pharmaceutical and Biological Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, United Kingdom
3University of Wales, College of Cardiff, Cardiff CF1 3TE, Wales, United Kingdom
4School of Biological Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 5XH, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT: Between 1995 and 1998, marine fish from around the coast of the UK were collected and samples analysed for viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) using cell culture isolation methods. In 1997 and 1998 the samples were also analysed for VHSV by reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR). A total of 1867 fish of 11 species were tested, but VHSV was isolated on only 1 occasion, from herring Clupea harengus, in 1996 . However, despite VHSV not being isolated in 1997 and 1998, in both years samples of herring from the west and south coasts of England produced positive signals in the RT-PCR, and in 1997 cod from the east coast of England also produced positive signals in the RT-PCR. These results are believed to be true indications of the presence of VHSV nucleic acid in the fish. In 1997, birnaviruses from Serogroup B1 were isolated from herring (a previously unrecorded host for the virus) and cod Gadus morhua, and a birnavirus from Serogroup A2 was also isolated from cod. In 1998, an aquareovirus was isolated from haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus, a previously unrecorded host for the virus.

KEY WORDS: Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus · VHSV · Birnavirus · Aquareovirus · Marine fish · UK · Survey

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