Viral hemorrhagic septicemia IVb status in the United States: Inferences from surveillance activities and regional context

L. L. Gustafson, M. D. Remmenga, Ian Gardner, K. H. Hartman, L. H. Creekmore, A. E. Goodwin, J. E. Whaley, J. V. Warg, S. L. Gardner, A. E. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The United States (U.S.) response to viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) IVb emergence in the Laurentian Great Lakes (GL) included risk-based surveillance for cost-effective decision support regarding the health of fish populations in open systems. All U.S. VHSV IVb isolations to date derive from free-ranging fish from GL States. Most originate in the region designated by US Geological Survey hydrologic unit code (HUC) 04, with the exception of two detections in neighboring Upper Mississippi (HUC 05) and Ohio (HUC 07) regions. For States outside the GL system, disease probability was assessed using multiple evidence sources. None substantiated VHSV IVb absence using surveillance alone, in part due to the limited temporal relevance of data in open systems. However, Bayesian odds risk-based analysis of surveillance and population context, coupled with exclusions where water temperatures likely preclude viral replication, achieved VHSV IVb freedom assurance for 14 non-GL States by the end of 2012, with partial evidence obtained for another 17 States. The non-GL region (defined as the aggregate of 4-digit HUCs located outside of GL States) met disease freedom targets for 2012 and is projected to maintain this status through 2016 without additional active surveillance. Projections hinge on continued basic biosecurity conditions such as movement restrictions and passive surveillance. Areas with navigable waterway connections to VHSV IVb-affected HUCs (and conducive water temperatures) should receive priority for resources in future surveillance or capacity building efforts. However, 6 years of absence of detections in non-GL States suggests that existing controls limit pathogen spread, and that even spread via natural pathways (e.g., water movement or migratory fish) appears contained to the Great Lakes system. This report exemplifies the cost-effective use of risk-based surveillance in decision support to assess and manage aquatic animal population health in open systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-187
Number of pages14
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Aquatic animal health
  • Context-based surveillance
  • Disease freedom
  • Risk-based surveillance
  • Viral hemorrhagic septicemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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