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Kempter J., Sadowski J., Schütze H., Fischer U., Dauber M., Fichtner D., Panicz R., Bergmann S.M. 2009. Koi herpes virus: do acipenserid restitution programs pose a threat to carp farms in the disease-free zones? Acta Ichthyol. Piscat. 39 (2): 119–126.

Background. Sturgeons have long been extinct in Polish inland waters. A substantial effort has recently been put into their restitution, covering the drainage areas of two major Polish rivers, the Oder and the Vistula. The stocked fishes are clinically healthy, but very little is known about their potential to transmit viral diseases including koi herpes virus (KHV) to healthy fishes of other species, which may pose a threat to the disease-free zones. This study was intended to determine if sturgeons could be asymptomatic carriers of KHV.

Materials and methods. A total of 29 sturgeons (two species; length 8–37 cm) originating from fish farms in northern Poland with a known KHV history in common carp or koi in the area were examined: 15 Russian sturgeons, Acipenser gueldenstaedtii, with clinical signs of a disease and 14 asymptomatic Atlantic sturgeons, A. oxyrinchus. The former were sent to the laboratory alive while the latter were sent fixed in ethanol. As it is required for detection of a latent KHV infection in acipenserids, two independent procedures were applied. The preliminary results were obtained using PCR. Those findings were subsequently confirmation by nested PCR. The latter procedure consists of sequence analysis of PCR products and direct detection of KHV infected cells in tissue materials by in-situ hybridization on nucleic acid level or indirect immunofluorescence on KHV protein level.

Results. KHV genome parts were found in nine Russian sturgeons and four Atlantic sturgeons. Comparison of PCR results obtained from three primer pairs used for KHV diagnostic in sturgeon showed that those designed by Bercovier et al. were most sensitive and robust for this purpose. In order to confirm the presence of viral particles the most useful method was in-situ hybridization (ISH), allowing the detection of KHV in gill samples obtained from live sturgeons.

Conclusion. This preliminary study shows that sturgeons can be carriers of KHV. Therefore a viral diagnostics is highly recommended not only for sturgeons obtained from the environment but also for fertilized eggs, fry, and fish intended for re-stocking measurements of inland waters.

Keywords: Koi herpesvirus, Acipenser gueldenstaedtii, Russian sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus, Atlantic sturgeon, PCR, nested PCR, ISH, iIFA



DOI: 10.3750/AIP2009.39.2.06

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