ISA virus in Chile: evidence of vertical transmission
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- Vike, S., Nylund, S. & Nylund, A. Arch Virol (2009) 154: 1. doi:10.1007/s00705-008-0251-2
Infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV), genus Isavirus (family Orthomyxoviridae), is present in all large salmon (Salmo salar)-producing countries around the North Atlantic. The target species for this virus are members of the genus Salmo, but the virus may also replicate in other salmonids introduced to the North Atlantic (Oncorhychus spp.). Existing ISA virus isolates can be divided into two major genotypes, a North American (NA) and a European (EU) genotype, based on phylogenetic analysis of the genome. The EU genotype can be subdivided into several highly supported clades based on analysis of segments 5 (fusion protein gene) and 6 (hemagglutinin-esterase gene). In 1999 an ISA virus belonging to the NA genotype was isolated from Coho salmon in Chile, and in 2007 the first outbreaks of ISA in farmed Atlantic salmon was observed. Several salmon farms in Chile were affected by the disease in 2007, and even more farms in 2008. In this study, ISA virus has been isolated from salmon in a marine farm suffering an outbreak of the disease in 2008 and from smolts with no signs of ISA in a fresh water lake. Sequencing of the partial genome of these ISA viruses, followed by phylogenetic analysis including genome sequences from members of the NA and EU genotypes, showed that the Chilean ISA virus belongs to the EU genotype. The Chilean ISA virus groups in a clade with exclusively Norwegian ISA viruses, where one of these isolates was obtained from a Norwegian brood stock population. All salmonid species in the southern hemisphere have been introduced from Europe and North America. The absence of natural hosts for ISA viruses in Chile excludes the possibility of natural reservoirs in this country, and the close relationship between contemporary ISA virus strains from farmed Atlantic salmon in Chile and Norway suggest a recent transmission from Norway to Chile. Norway export large amounts of Atlantic salmon embryos every year to Chile; hence, the best explanation for the Norwegian ISA virus in Chile is transmission via these embryos, i.e. vertical or transgenerational transmission. This supports other studies showing that the ISA virus can be transmitted vertically.