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J Virol. 2014 Jun;88(11):6012-8. doi: 10.1128/JVI.03670-13. Epub 2014 Mar 12.

Bona fide evidence for natural vertical transmission of infectious salmon anemia virus in freshwater brood stocks of farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in Southern Chile.

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  • 1Laboratorio de Genética e Inmunología Molecular, Instituto de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Campus Curauma, Valparaíso, Chile.


Infectious salmon anemia (ISA) is a severe disease that affects farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), causing outbreaks in seawater in most salmon-producing countries worldwide, with particular aggressiveness in southern Chile. The etiological agent of this disease is a virus belonging to the Orthomyxoviridae family, named infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAV). Although it has been suggested that this virus can be vertically transmitted, even in freshwater, there is a lack of compelling experimental evidence to confirm this. Here we demonstrate significant putative viral loads in the ovarian fluid as well as in the eggs of two brood stock female adult specimens that harbored the virus systemically but without clinical signs. The target virus corresponded to a highly polymorphic region 3 (HPR-3) variant, which is known to be virulent in seawater and responsible for recent and past outbreaks of this disease in Chile. Additionally, the virus recovered from the fluid as well as from the interior of the eggs was fully infective to a susceptible fish cell line. To our knowledge, this is the first robust evidence demonstrating mother-to-offspring vertical transmission of the infective virus on the one hand and the asymptomatic transmission of a virulent form of the virus in freshwater fish on the other hand.


The robustness of the data presented here will contribute to a better understanding of the biology of the virus but most importantly will constitute a key management tool in the control of an aggressive agent constantly threatening the sustainability of the global salmon industry.

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