A mortality event in cultured white sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus (Richardson, 1836) sub-adults was investigated. After transfer between farms, high mortality was observed in fish, associated with back arching, abnormal swimming, and ulcerative skin lesions. Necropsy of moribund individuals revealed hemorrhagic ascites and petechial hemorrhages in the coelomic peritoneum and serosa of internal organs. Acipenserid herpesvirus 2 (AciHV-2) was isolated from external tissue samples, then identified and genotyped by sequencing of the terminase and poly-merase genes. In addition, Streptococcus iniae was recovered from internal organs of affected fish. Histologic changes were limited to interstitial hematopoietic areas of the kidney and consisted of small foci of necrosis accompanied by fibrin deposition, minimal inflammatory response, and small numbers of bacterial cocci compatible with streptococci. Identity was confirmed by partial sequencing of the 16S rRNA, rpoB, and gyrB genes. Genetic fingerprinting demonstrated a genetic profile distinct from S. iniae isolates recovered from previous outbreaks in wild and cultured fish in North America, South America, and the Caribbean. Although the isolates were resistant to white sturgeon complement in serum killing assays, in vivo challenges failed to fulfill Koch's postulates. However, the clinical presentation, coupled with consistent recovery of S. iniae and AciHV-2 from moribund fish, suggests viral and bacterial co-infection were the proximate cause of death. To our knowledge, this represents the first report of AciHV-2 and S. iniae co-infection in cultured white sturgeon.
- Acipenserid herpesvirus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science