Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) has, in recent decades, been isolated from an increasing number of free-living marine fish species. So far, it has been isolated from at least 48 fish species from the northern hemisphere, including North America, Asia and Europe, and fifteen different species including herring, sprat, cod, Norway pout and flatfish from northern European waters. The high number of VHSV isolations from the Baltic Sea, Kattegat, Skagerrak, the North Sea and waters around Scotland indicate that the virus is endemic in these waters. The VHSV isolates originating from wild marine fish show no to low pathogenicity to rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon, although several are pathogenic for turbot. Marine VHSV isolates are so far serologically indistinguishable from freshwater isolates. Genotyping based on VHSV G- and N-genes reveals four groups indicating the geographical origin of the isolates, with one group representing traditional European freshwater isolates and isolates of north European marine origin, a second group of marine isolates from the Baltic Sea, a third group of isolates from the North Sea, and a group representing North American isolates. Examples of possible transfer of virus from free-living marine fish to farmed fish are discussed, as are measures to prevent introduction of VHSV from the marine environment to aquaculture.
- viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV)
- wild marine fish
- marine VHSV isolates