Viruses of Fish


Viruses can infect many species of fish and have become most apparent on fish farms. The more virulent viruses can result in haemorrhages, ascites and death. They have been spread between countries by stock fish, ornamental fish, eyed eggs and/or wild fish and so cheap vaccines are still needed to reduce the risk to fish farmers and dealers. However, if infection of fish occurs between vaccination and export then vaccinated excretors can transfer disease between countries.

Key concepts:

  • The more serious fish viruses usually result in haemorrhages, ascites and death.

  • New fish viruses continue to be recognized.

  • Fish viruses do not infect man.

  • Fish viruses can spread globally and into new species of fish.

  • Vaccines exist for only a few viruses.

  • The first of all commercial DNA‐vaccine was made for infectious haematopoietic necrosis virus of farmed Atlantic salmon in Canada.

  • Vaccines are needed for fry and for the emerging viruses of warm‐water fish.

  • Vaccines reduce but do not obviate excretion of virus.

Keywords: fish; viruses; vaccines; DNA‐vaccine; salmon


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Further Reading

Ellis AE (1988) Fish Vaccination. London: Academic Press.

OIE (2006) Manual of diagnostic tests for aquatic animals 2006.

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Russell, Peter H, and Dixon, Peter F(Mar 2009) Viruses of Fish. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020713]