THE FIRST OUTBREAK OF VIRAL ENCEPHALOPATHY AND RETINOPATHY IN FARMED SEA BASS (Dicentrarchus labrax) IN SLOVENIA

Authors

  • Rosvita Sitar National veterinary institute, Veterinary faculty, University of Ljubljana, unit Nova Gorica, Pri hrastu 18, 5000 Nova Gorica

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.26873/SVR-1205-2021

Abstract

Abstract: Viral encephalopathy and retinopathy (VER) is considered a serious disease of several marine fish species, caused by RNA virus belonging to the family Nodaviridae, genus Betanodavirus. The disease is spread almost worldwide and causes significant losses among diseased fish. It is characterised by vacuolation of the central nervous system and the retina. In July 2018, behavioural abnormalities i.e. altered swimming, swirling and vertical floating as well as lethargy and anorexia were observed in farmed sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) in the Gulf of Piran (Slovenia), associated with significant mortality. The disease initially occurred in juvenile sea bass, but later market-sized fish also became affected. Diseased fish displayed ocular opacity and multifocal skin ulceration on the head. Emaciation in some fish was also evident. Histopathology revealed characteristic vacuolation in the brain and retina. Performing a RT-PCR and RT-qPCR techniques, we have identified and confirmed the presence of betanodavirus nucleic acid in ocular and brain tissues. In addition, concentrations of the causative agent of VER in spleen and kidney did result in significantly higher viral yield than expected. Phylogenetic analysis showed that Slovenian isolate belongs to RGNNV species of betanodaviruses. Based on the clinical signs, gross and typical microscopic lesions and results of molecular analyses, we can conclude that farmed sea bass from the Gulf of Piran were affected with VER. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of VER in Slovenia.

Key words: viral encephalopathy and retinopathy; betanodavirus; sea bass; histopathology; RT-qPCR

 

PRVI IZBRUH VIRUSNE ENCEFALOPATIJE IN RETINOPATIJE PRI GOJENIH BRANCINIH (Dicentrarchus labrax) V SLOVENIJI

Izvleček: Virusna encefalopatija in retinopatija (VER) je nevarna bolezen številnih vrst morskih rib, ki jo povzroča nevrotropni RNA virus iz družine Nodaviridae, rod Betanodavirus. Bolezen je razširjena skoraj po vsem svetu in povzroča visok pogin okuženih rib. Zanjo so značilne vakuole v centralnem živčnem sistemu in retini. Konec julija 2018 so v ribogojnici v Piranskem zalivu pri brancinih opazili nepravilno plavanje, vrtenje in postavljanje v vertikalno smer ter letargijo in neješčnost, brancini so množično poginjali. Bolezen se je najprej pojavila pri mladicah, nato tudi pri konzumnih kategorijah brancinov. Obolele ribe so imele sivo-motna očesna zrkla ter multifokalne kožne razjede na glavi, posamezne so bile shujšane. S histopatološko preiskavo smo ugotovili značilne vakuole v možganih in retini. Z molekularnima metodama RT-PCR in RT-qPCR smo potrdili prisotnost nukleinske kisline betanodavirusa v očesnem zrklu in možganih. Koncentracije virusa, ki so bile signifikantno višje od pričakovanih, smo ugotovili tudi v vranici in ledvicah. Na podlagi kliničnih znakov, makroskopskih in tipičnih histopatoloških sprememb ter rezultatov molekularnih preiskav lahko zaključimo, da so gojeni brancini v ribogojnici v Piranskem zalivu zboleli za VER. Opisani izbruh je prvi potrjeni primer te bolezni v Sloveniji.

Ključne besede: virusna encefalopatija in retinopatija; betanodavirus; brancin; histopatologija; RT-qPCR

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Published

2021-12-31

How to Cite

Sitar, R. (2021). THE FIRST OUTBREAK OF VIRAL ENCEPHALOPATHY AND RETINOPATHY IN FARMED SEA BASS (Dicentrarchus labrax) IN SLOVENIA. SLOVENIAN VETERINARY RESEARCH, 58(4). https://doi.org/10.26873/SVR-1205-2021

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