Prevalence and transmission dynamics of Piscine Reovirus (PRV) in the marine environment
Piscine reovirus (PRV) is globally distributed, and detected in nearly all salmonid species. The virulence of PRV, like most reoviruses, appears to be generally low and highly dependent on the virus, host, and/or environmental factors. However, in some instances of commercial salmon aquaculture, PRV has been associated with disease. On the west coast of Canada, PRV is prevalent in both wild and farmed salmon species, yet when, where, and how these fish become infected with this virus remain unclear. Preliminary surveys of farmed Atlantic salmon suggest that PRV infections predominately appear after the farm fish have been moved to the seawater net-pen, suggesting a marine origin to the source of the infection. To better understand the infection dynamics of PRV in the marine environment, this project aims to: 1) identify when, where and how long PRV is present in farmed Atlantic salmon in BC; 2) create a test to sensitively detect PRV from seawater and use this test to screen environmental seawater samples; 3) monitor the amount of virus shed from the fish into seawater following laboratory infection to see how long the virus remains infective; and 4) identify the susceptibility of multiple fish lineages and species in becoming infected with PRV after making physical contact with infected farmed Atlantic salmon. In addition, this study aims to quantify the key parameters required to assess PRV transmission and to what extent Atlantic salmon serve to maintain and spread PRV in coastal waters.
Two years: 2018-2020
Mark Polinski, research scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Research Station, Pacific Region
Barry Milligan, Fish Health Director and veterinarian, Cermaq Canada Ltd.
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