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Susceptibility of Pallid Sturgeon to viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus genotype IVb

May 26, 2023


Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) is an aquatic rhabdovirus causing severe disease in freshwater and saltwater fish species. The susceptibility of endangered Pallid Sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus to VHSV genotype IVb (VHSV-IVb) infection was investigated.


An in vitro assessment using two Pallid Sturgeon cell lines derived from skin and spleen tissue and in vivo evaluation of juvenile Pallid Sturgeon after exposure to VHSV-IVb were performed.


Plaque assay and RT-PCR results confirmed VHSV-IVb replication in Pallid Sturgeon cell lines. Sturgeon were also susceptible to VHSV-IVb infection after immersion and injection exposures during laboratory experiments. However, after widespread mortality occurred in all treatment groups, including negative control fish, it was determined that the Pallid Sturgeon stock fish were infected with Missouri River sturgeon iridovirus (MRSIV) prior to experimental challenge. Nevertheless, mortalities were equal or higher among VHSV-exposed fish than among negative controls (MRSIV infected), and histopathological assessments indicated reduced hematopoietic cells in spleen and kidney tissues and hemorrhage in the gastrointestinal organs only in fish from the VHSV treatment.


These results indicate that Pallid Sturgeon is a susceptible host for VHSV-IVb, but the degree of pathogenicity was confounded by the underlying MRSIV infection. Research comparing susceptibility of specific pathogen-free and MRSIV-infected fish to VHSV-IVb is needed to accurately assess the vulnerability of Pallid Sturgeon to VHSV-IVb.

Publication Year 2023
Title Susceptibility of Pallid Sturgeon to viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus genotype IVb
DOI 10.1002/aah.10181
Authors Lacey R. Hopper, Jolene A. Glenn, Elizabeth MacConnell, James Winton, Eveline J. Emmenegger
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Aquatic Animal Health
Index ID 70244031
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Fisheries Research Center