Language selection


PRV susceptibility of Atlantic salmon at different life stages and Eastern Canadian vs European farmed salmon comparative study



The piscine reovirus (PRV) is a recently identified virus that has been linked to heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI) in Atlantic salmon. The actual role of PRV in HSMI development has been difficult to confirm, as PRV is often detected in fish without symptoms of HSMI and viral culture cannot be done. One way of detecting PRV is by examining the blood, spleen and kidneys of fishes, as erythrocytes are major targets for PRV infection. In Norway, high loads of PRV have been suggested as a requirement for the development of HSMI in Atlantic salmon. In western North America, PRV is detected in both wild Pacific salmon and farmed Atlantic salmon, with a high prevalence in farmed fish. In addition, observation of lesions typical of HSMI by histology has been made recently in one farm in British Columbia, where lesions were more pronounced in individuals with higher load of PRV. Data gathered over the past two years provide a significant advance into the PRV situation in eastern North America, but some knowledge gaps remain to determine if the detected PRV strains actually pose a threat to wild or farmed Atlantic salmon, and if preventive management procedures can be developed to reduce the potential risk of HSMI outbreak.

The goal of this work is to further demonstrate that HSMI is unlikely to be an issue on the eastern coast of Canada, to begin to explore the reason for this resistance, and to reduce that chances that HSMI will ever become an issue by providing possible mitigation solutions to the aquaculture industry.

Program name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


Four years: 2018-2022

Principal investigator

Nellie Gagné, research scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Gulf Fisheries Centre, Gulf Region

Team members

Delphine Ditlecadet, research biologist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Gulf Fisheries Centre, Gulf Region
Francis Leblanc, research biologist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Gulf Fisheries Centre, Gulf Region
Philip Byrne, veterinary pathologist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory - Gulf Biocontainment Unit, Gulf Region


Keng Pee Ang, Vice-President of Research, Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd.

Date modified: