Screening for Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus in Marine Fish along the Norwegian Coastal Line

Nina Sandlund, Britt Gjerset, Øivind Bergh, Ingebjorg Modahl, Niels Jørgen Olesen, Renate Johansen

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    Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) infects a wide range of marine fish species. To study the occurrence of VHSV in wild marine fish populations in Norwegian coastal waters and fjord systems a total of 1927 fish from 39 different species were sampled through 5 research cruises conducted in 2009 to 2011. In total, VHSV was detected by rRT-PCR in twelve samples originating from Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus), haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), whiting (Merlangius merlangus) and silvery pout (Gadiculus argenteus). All fish tested positive in gills while four herring and one silvery pout also tested positive in internal organs. Successful virus isolation in cell culture was only obtained from one pooled Atlantic herring sample which shows that today's PCR methodology have a much higher sensitivity than cell culture for detection of VHSV. Sequencing revealed that the positive samples belonged to VHSV genotype Ib and phylogenetic analysis shows that the isolate from Atlantic herring and silvery pout are closely related. All positive fish were sampled in the same area in the northern county of Finnmark. This is the first detection of VHSV in Atlantic herring this far north, and to our knowledge the first detection of VHSV in silvery pout. However, low prevalence of VHSV genotype Ib in Atlantic herring and other wild marine fish are well known in other parts of Europe. Earlier there have been a few reports of disease outbreaks in farmed rainbow trout with VHSV of genotype Ib, and our results show that there is a possibility of transfer of VHSV from wild to farmed fish along the Norwegian coast line. The impact of VHSV on wild fish is not well documented.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere108529
    JournalPLOS ONE
    Issue number9
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


    • Finnmark Norway, Europe Palearctic region
    • Norwegian Sea Arctic Ocean
    • GenBank sequence data
    • Negative Sense ssRNA Viruses Viruses Microorganisms (Microorganisms, Negative Sense Single-Stranded RNA Viruses, Viruses) - Rhabdoviridae [03504] Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus species pathogen
    • Pisces Vertebrata Chordata Animalia (Animals, Chordates, Fish, Nonhuman Vertebrates, Vertebrates) - Osteichthyes [85206] rainbow trout common host commercial species Clupea harengus species Atlantic herring common host commercial species Melanogrammus aeglefinus species haddock common host commercial species Merlangius merlangus species whiting common host commercial species Gadiculus argenteus species silvery pout common host commercial species
    • 07516, Ecology: environmental biology - Wildlife management: aquatic
    • 16004, Respiratory system - Physiology and biochemistry
    • 32500, Tissue culture, apparatus, methods and media
    • 33502, Virology - General and methods
    • gill respiratory system
    • cell culture laboratory techniques, culturing techniques
    • phylogenetic analysis mathematical and computer techniques
    • rRT-PCR laboratory techniques, genetic techniques
    • sequencing laboratory techniques, genetic techniques
    • Aquaculture
    • Infection


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