Outbreak of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) in lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) in Iceland caused by VHS virus genotype IV

Sigríður Guðmundsdóttir*, Niccolò Vendramin, Argelia Cuenca, Heiða Sigurðardóttir, Arni Kristmundsson, Tine Moesgaard Iburg, Niels Jørgen Olesen

*Corresponding author for this work

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A novel viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) of genotype IV was isolated from wild lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus), brought to a land-based farm in Iceland, to serve as broodfish. Two groups of lumpfish juveniles, kept in tanks in the same facility, got infected. The virus isolated was identified as VHSV by ELISA and real-time RT-PCR. Phylogenetic analysis, based on the glycoprotein (G) gene sequences, may indicate a novel subgroup of VHSV genotype IV. In controlled laboratory exposure studies with this new isolate, there was 3% survival in the I.P. injection challenged group while there was 90% survival in the immersion group. VHSV was not re-isolated from fish challenged by immersion. In a cohabitation trial, lumpfish infected I.P. (shedders) were placed in tanks with naïve lumpfish as well as naïve Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.). 10% of the lumpfish shedders and 43%-50% of the cohabiting lumpfish survived after 4 weeks. 80%-92% of the Atlantic salmon survived, but no viral RNA was detected by real-time RT-PCR nor VHSV was isolated from Atlantic salmon. This is the first isolation of a notifiable virus in Iceland and the first report of VHSV of genotype IV in European waters.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Fish Diseases
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)47-62
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Iceland
  • challenge models
  • genotype IV
  • lumpfish
  • viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV)


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