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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 67:31-38 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/dao067031

Comparative susceptibility of turbot Scophthalmus maximus to different genotypes of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus

M. Snow*, J. A. King, A. Garden, A. M. Shanks, R. S. Raynard

Fisheries Research Services (FRS) Marine Laboratory, PO Box 101, 375 Victoria Road, Aberdeen AB11 9DB, UK

ABSTRACT: Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) disease has exerted a significant impact on the development of turbot aquaculture in the British Isles. The source of such outbreaks is believed to be naturally occurring marine isolates of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV), which are endemic in the marine environment of Northern Europe. Genetic studies have classified these marine VHSV isolates into genotypes based on their geographic rather than host-species origin. This study set out to explore the hypothesis that susceptibility of turbot to VHSV might be genotype specific. Immersion infection of turbot with a range of isolates, selected according to genotype, identified significant differences between susceptibility and genotype. Viruses belonging to Genotypes Ib (Baltic marine isolates) and III (North Sea/E. Atlantic marine isolates) caused significantly higher mortality than isolates from Genotypes Ia (isolates associated with rainbow trout aquaculture) and II (Baltic marine isolates). This study serves to highlight the importance of thoroughly investigating the susceptibility of any given species to the range of pathogens to which they might be exposed prior to considering them resistant to any disease. Furthermore, it highlights different risk factors that might be associated with turbot aquaculture undertaken in different environments. Finally, an increased knowledge of the relative virulence of different isolates in turbot will assist in understanding virulence determinants, which could lead to advances in disease control.

KEY WORDS: Scophthalmus maximus · Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia · Genotype · Susceptibility

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