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Salmon gill poxvirus (SGPV) characterisation in farmed and wild salmon-phase II



Poxviruses are large DNA viruses of vertebrates and insects causing disease in many animal species. In the spring of 2006, a new poxvirus, salmon gill poxvirus (SGPV), was identified by electron microscopy in the gills of salmon suffering from proliferative gill disease (PGD) in freshwater in northern and western Norway. Clinical disease symptoms are lethargy, respiratory distress, and mortality. A recent survey of SGPV in wild and farmed Atlantic salmon in Norway revealed a high prevalence of the virus, with high virus loads reported in clinically diseased fish. In Canada, SGPV-like virus was recently identified and isolated from a wild Atlantic salmon caught in a river in New Brunswick, and it was also reported that salmon gill diseases of unknown etiology were detected on the east coast of Canada.

Data gathered through the previously funded ACRDP project 16-1-G-02 are a significant step forward to better understanding the SGPV situation in eastern North America, but more work is needed to understand its true prevalence in hatcheries and the actual threat SGPV may represent for Atlantic salmon, especially the variant genetically close to the European variant that has been linked to fish mortalities in Norway. This project aims to determine if the source of SGPV in hatcheries can be determined.

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
Steven Leadbeater, biologist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. Andrews Biological Station, Maritimes Region


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

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