Sublethal concentrations of pollutants may compromise fish, resulting in increased susceptibility to endemic pathogens. To test this hypothesis, juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) were exposed to sublethal levels of esfenvalerate or chlorpyrifos either alone or concurrently with infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV). Three trials were performed with fish exposed to concentrations of IHNV between 0.8 × 102 and 2.7 × 106 plaque-forming units/ml and to 5.0 μg/L of chlorpyrifos or 0.1 μg/L of esfenvalerate. The presence and concentration of IHNV in dead fish were assayed by virus isolation and plaque assay techniques, respectively. Among groups exposed to both esfenvalerate and IHNV, 83% experienced highly significant (p < 0.001) mortality, ranging from 20 to 90% at 3 d post-virus exposure, and cumulatively died from 2.4 to 7.7 d sooner than fish exposed to IHNV alone. This trend was not seen in any other treatment group. Virus assays of dead fish indicate a lethal synergism of esfenvalerate and IHNV. Chlorpyrifos had no observed effect on total mortality or IHNV susceptibility. The present results suggest that accepted levels of pollutants may be seemingly nonlethal to fish but, in fact, be acting synergistically with endemic pathogens to compromise survivorship of wild fish populations through immunologic or physiologic disruption.
- Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis