Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What’s killing farmed salmon? New virus may also pose risk to wild salmon

Date:
July 12, 2010
Source:
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Summary:
Epidemics of infectious disease are threatening the farmed fish industry, including one of its most popular products: farmed Atlantic salmon. A team of scientists has found evidence that the disease may be caused by a previously unknown virus.

Salmon.
Credit: iStockphoto/Matthew Hayes

Farmed fish are an increasingly important food source, with a global harvest now at 110 million tons and growing at more than 8 percent a year. But epidemics of infectious disease threaten this vital industry, including one of its most popular products: farmed Atlantic salmon. Perhaps even more worrisome: these infections can spread to wild fish coming in close proximity to marine pens and fish escaping from them.

Heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI), an often fatal disease, was first detected in salmon on a farm in Norway in 1999, and has now been reported in 417 fish farms in Norway as well as in the United Kingdom. The disease destroys heart and muscle tissue and kills up to 20 percent of infected fish. Although studies have indicated an infectious basis, recent efforts to identify the pathogen causing the disease have been unsuccessful. Now, using cutting-edge molecular techniques, an international team led by W. Ian Lipkin, MD, the John Snow Professor of Epidemiology and director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, has found evidence that the disease may be caused by a previously unknown virus. The newly identified virus is related but distinct from previously known reoviruses, which are double-stranded RNA viruses that infect a wide range of vertebrates.

The full study findings are published online in the publication PLoS ONE.

"Our data provide compelling evidence that HSMI is associated with infection with a new reovirus," says Gustavo Palacios, first author of the study and assistant professor of Epidemiology in the Center.

"While there is no evidence that this could spread to humans, it is a threat to aquaculture and it has the potential to spread to wild salmon," added Dr. Lipkin.

To identify the virus, the Columbia University investigators used 454 high throughput DNA sequencing and bioinformatics, including a new tool called Frequency Analysis of Sequence Data (FASD), pioneered by Raul Rabadan of Columbia's Department of Biomedical Informatics. Investigators in Norway and the U.S. then looked for viral sequences in heart and kidney samples from 29 salmon representing three different HSMI outbreaks and 10 samples from healthy farmed fish. Twenty-eight of the 29 (96.5%) known HSMI samples and none of the 10 healthy salmon samples were positive. The investigators also tested 66 samples obtained from wild salmon living in nine coastal rivers in Norway. The virus was detected in sixteen of these samples (24.2%), though generally in lower concentrations than found in ailing farmed fish.

"The speed of this process, and the enthusiasm on both sides of the Atlantic created a very fruitful collaboration," says Espen Rimstad, a professor at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science in Oslo. "Using the expertise of our colleagues at Columbia in high throughput sequencing and advanced bioinformatics, we had within a few weeks the whole genome sequence of a hitherto unknown virus."

Additional research will be needed to confirm that the reovirus is the cause of HSMI. Meanwhile work has already begun in Norway to develop a vaccine to protect farmed Atlantic salmon.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gustavo Palacios, Marie Lovoll, Torstein Tengs, Mady Hornig, Stephen Hutchison, Jeffrey Hui, Ruth-Torill Kongtorp, Nazir Savji, Ana V Bussetti, Alexander Solovyov, Anja B Kristoffersen, Christopher Celone, Craig Street, Vladimir Trifonov, David L Hirschberg, Raul Rabadan, Michael Egholm, Espen Rimstad, W Ian Lipkin. Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation of Farmed Salmon Is Associated with Infection with a Novel Reovirus. PLoS ONE, 2010; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011487

Cite This Page:

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "What’s killing farmed salmon? New virus may also pose risk to wild salmon." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100709210823.htm>.
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. (2010, July 12). What’s killing farmed salmon? New virus may also pose risk to wild salmon. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100709210823.htm
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "What’s killing farmed salmon? New virus may also pose risk to wild salmon." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100709210823.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins