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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 76:187-192 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/dao076187

Detection of viral hemorrhagic septicemia in round gobies in New York State (USA) waters of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River

G. H. Groocock1, R. G. Getchell1, G. A. Wooster1, K. L. Britt 1, W. N. Batts2, J. R. Winton2, R. N. Casey1, J. W. Casey1, P. R. Bowser1,*

1Aquatic Animal Health Program, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA
2US Geological Survey, Western Fisheries Research Center, 6505 NE 65th Street, Seattle, Washington 98115-5016, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: In May 2006 a large mortality of several thousand round gobies Neogobius melanostomus (Pallas, 1814) occurred in New York waters of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Necropsies of sampled fish from these areas showed pallor of the liver and gills, and hemorrhagic areas in many organs. Histopathologic examination of affected tissues revealed areas of necrosis and hemorrhage. Inoculations of fathead minnow Pimephales promelas (Rafinesque, 1820) cell cultures with dilutions of tissue samples from the necropsied gobies produced a cytopathic effect within 5 d post-inoculation. Samples of cell culture supernatant were tested using RT-PCR and confirmed the presence of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV). Sequence analysis of the VHSV isolate resulted in its assignment to the type-IVb subgroup. The detection of VHSV in a relatively recent invasive fish species in the Great Lakes and the potential impact of VHSV on the ecology and economy of the area will require further investigation and careful management considerations.

KEY WORDS: Viral hemorrhagic septicemia · VHSV · Round goby · New York State

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