First report of piscine nodavirus infecting wild winter flounder Pleuronectes americanus in Passamaquoddy Bay, New Brunswick, Canada.
Barker, D.E., MacKinnon, A.M., Boston, L., Burt, M.D.B., Cone, D.K., Speare, D.J., Griffiths, S., Cook, M., Ritchie, R. & Olivier, G.
Dis. Aquat. Org.
Piscine nodaviruses (Betanodaviridae) are frequently reported from a variety of cultured and wild finfishes. These non-enveloped, single-stranded RNA virions cause viral encephalopathy and retinopathy (VER), also known as viral nervous necrosis (VNN) or fish encephalitis. Recently, nodavirus infections have posed serious problems for larval and juvenile cultured halibut Hippoglossus hippoglossus in Norway and Scotland. To date, no such viruses have been described from any cultured or wild pleuronectid in Atlantic Canada. Obviously, there exists a need to survey wild populations of pleuronectids to assess the risk of potential transfer of nodavirus from wild to caged fishes. This paper presents the results of monthly surveys (April 2000 to March 2001) of viruses from wild winter flounder Pleuronectes americanus collected from Passamaquoddy Bay, New Brunswick, Canada. Tissue samples from wild flounder were screened initially on commercial cell lines (EPC, SSN-1, SHK and CHSE-214) for any evidence of cytopathic effect (CPE). After confirmation of CPE, nodavirus identification was achieved using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis. We detected nodavirus from only 1 out of 440 flounder (0.23%) examined. This is the first report of piscine nodavirus isolated from wild winter flounder in Atlantic Canada, and although this prevalence may seem low, we discuss the implications of this finding for Canada's emerging halibut aquaculture industry.