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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 66:113-120 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/dao066113

New subtype of salmonid alphavirus (SAV), Togaviridae, from Atlantic salmon Salmo salar and rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss in Norway

K. Hodneland1, A. Bratland1, K. E. Christie1,2, C. Endresen1, A. Nylund*

1Department of Biology, University of Bergen, 5020 Bergen, Norway
2Present address: Intervet Norbio, HiB, 5020 Bergen, Norway
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: In Europe, 2 closely related alphaviruses (Togaviridae) are regarded as the causative agents of sleeping disease (SD) and salmon pancreas disease (SPD): SD virus (SDV) has been isolated from rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss in France and the UK, while SPD virus (SPDV) has been isolated from salmon Salmo salar in Ireland and the UK. Farmed salmonids in western Norway also suffer from a disease called pancreas disease (PD), and this disease is also believed to be caused by an alphavirus. However, this virus has not yet been characterised at the molecular level. We have cultured a Norwegian salmonid alphavirus from moribund fishes diagnosed with cardiac myopathy syndrome (CMS) and fishes diagnosed with PD. The virus has also been found in salmon suffering from haemorrhagic smolt syndrome in the fresh water phase. The genomic organisation of the Norwegian salmonid alphavirus is identical to that in SPDV and SDV, and the nucleotide sequence similarity to the other 2 alphaviruses is 91.6 and 92.9%, respectively. Based on the pathological changes, host species and the nucleotide sequence, we suggest naming this virus Norwegian salmonid alphavirus (NSAV). Together with SPDV and SDV it constitutes a third subtype of salmonid alphavirus (SAV) species within the genus Alphavirus, family Togaviridae.

KEY WORDS: Norwegian salmonid alphavirus · Virus characterisation · Pancreas disease

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