An outbreak of viral encephalopathy and retinopathy (VER) in a batch of Australian native bass (Macquaria novemaculeata) held at a New South Wales government facility highlighted one of the emerging problems with disease in aquatic animals. This was the first report of VER in this species. The particular virus isolate showed a 13% difference in genome sequence from the isolates found in barramundi (Lates calcarifer) and did not react with primers referred to in the OIE Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals (4th ed., 2003).
In an unrelated incident, a barramundi hatchery in South Australia had an outbreak of VER. Some stock from the affected batch moved interstate, however the majority of facilities receiving the affected stock were closed system farms, using water-recycling technology.