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Virulence and infectivity of UC, MD and L strains of infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) in four populations of Columbia River Basin Chinook salmon

April 18, 2021

Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis Virus (IHNV) infects juvenile salmonid fish in conservation hatcheries and aquaculture facilities, and in some cases, causes lethal disease. This study assesses intra-specific variation in the IHNV susceptibility of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Columbia River Basin (CRB), in the northwestern United States. The virulence and infectivity of IHNV strains from three divergent virus genogroups are measured in four Chinook salmon populations, including spring-run and fall-run fish from the lower or upper regions of the CRB. Following controlled laboratory exposures, our results show that the positive control L strain had significantly higher virulence, and the UC and MD strains that predominate in the CRB had equivalently low virulence, consistent with field observations. By several experimental measures, there was little variation in host susceptibility to infection or disease. However, a small number of exceptions suggested that the lower CRB spring-run Chinook salmon population may be less susceptible than other populations tested. The UC and MD viruses did not differ in infectivity, indicating that the observed asymmetric field prevalence in which IHNV detected in CRB Chinook salmon is 83% UC and 17% MD is not due to the UC virus being more infectious. Overall, we report little intra-species variation in CRB Chinook salmon susceptibility to UC or MD IHNV infection or disease, and suggest that other factors may instead influence the ecology of IHNV in the CRB. 

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Virulence and infectivity of UC, MD and L strains of infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) in four populations of Columbia River Basin Chinook salmon
DOI 10.3390/v13040701
Authors Daniel G. Hernandez, William E. Brown, Kerry A. Naish, Gael Kurath
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Viruses
Series Number
Index ID 70220330
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Fisheries Research Center