Since 1993, an epizootic viral disease has occurred in net‐cage cultured red sea bream, Pagrus major (Temminck & Schlegel), in Peng‐hu Island located on the south‐western coast of Taiwan. The diseased fish exhibited abnormal swimming and were lethargic, but few visible external signs were observed. The cumulative mortality because of the disease sometimes reached 50–90% over 2 months. Histopathogical studies of the affected fish showed enlarged basophilic cells in the gill, kidney, heart, liver and spleen. These necrotic cells were Feulgen‐positive and stained blue using Giemsa. Transmission electron microscopy revealed icosahedral virions in the cytoplasm of the necrotic cells. The viral particles consisted of a central nucleocapsid (75–80 nm) and envelope, and were 120–150 nm in diameter. These results suggest that the virus belongs to the Iridoviridae. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), approximately 570 bp fragments were produced from the viral DNA using as a template 1‐F and 1‐R primers derived from red seabream iridovirus (RSIV) from red sea bream in Japan. Similar results were also obtained using nested‐PCR with different primer sets (1‐F, 2‐R and 2‐F, 1‐R). Although the size and some features of epizootics of this virus differed from RSIV in Japan, it shows close genetic affinities with the latter and it is suggested that RSIV has been introduced to Taiwan.
Journal of Fish Diseases – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 2003
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