DAO 61:149-152 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/dao061149

Lack of evidence of infectious salmon anemia virus in pollock Pollachius virens cohabitating with infected farmed Atlantic salmon Salmo salar

Carol A. McClure1, K. Larry Hammell1,*, Ian R. Dohoo1, Nellie Gagné2

1Department of Health Management, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island C1A 4P3, Canada
2Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 343 University Avenue, Moncton, New Brunswick E1C 9X4, Canada
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The infectious salmon anemia (ISA) virus causes lethargy, anemia, hemorrhage of the internal organs, and death in farmed Atlantic salmon Salmo salar. It has been a cause of disease in Norwegian farmed Atlantic salmon since 1984 and has since been identified in Canada, Scotland, the United States, and the Faroe Islands. Wild fish have been proposed as a viral reservoir because they are capable of close contact with farmed salmon. Laboratory studies have shown that brown trout and sea trout Salmo trutta, rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss, and herring Clupea harengus tested positive for the virus weeks after intra-peritoneal injection of the ISA virus. Pollock Pollachius virens are commonly found in and around salmon cages, and their close association with the salmon makes them an important potential viral reservoir to consider. The objective of this study was to determine the presence or prevalence of ISA virus in pollock cohabitating with ISA-infected farmed Atlantic salmon. Kidney tissue from 93 pollock that were living with ISA-infected salmon in sea cages were tested with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. Results yielded the expected 193 bp product for positive controls, while no product was observed in any of the pollock samples, resulting in an ISA viral prevalence of 0%. This study strengthens the evidence that pollock are unlikely to be an ISA virus reservoir for farmed Atlantic salmon.

KEY WORDS: Infectious salmon anemia · Pollock · Pollachius virens · Atlantic salmon · Prevalence

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