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Prev Vet Med. 2013 Apr 1;109(1-2):136-43. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2012.08.012. Epub 2012 Sep 5.

Risk mapping of heart and skeletal muscle inflammation in salmon farming.

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Department of Health Surveillance, Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Ullevålsveien 68, Oslo, Norway.


Heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI) is an infectious disease causing losses to the Norwegian salmon farming industry due to increased mortality and high morbidity in infected salmon. The disease is listed as a notifiable disease on list 3 (national list) by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. HSMI is believed to be a viral disease, but the association to the recently discovered Piscine reovirus (PRV) remains unclear. Undoubtedly, other factors interact to determine whether PRV-infected fish develop disease or not. In this study, logistic regression was used to model the risk of an outbreak of HSMI at the cohort level, by including spatio-temporal risk factors. The data consisted of fish cohorts grown on geo-referenced farms from 2002 to 2010. The risk factors included were: infection pressure, cohort size (maximum number of fish), cohort index (smolt characteristics), cohort lifespan (months in sea) and a geo-index calculated as the position along a local polynomial regression line based on the longitude and latitude of each farm included in the study. The results showed that the risk of developing HSMI increased with increasing cohort lifespan, increasing infection pressure and increasing cohort size, and was mostly low for cohorts grown on farms in Southern-Norway, high for farms in Mid-Norway and variable for farms in Northern-Norway (based on the geo-index). The final model was used to explore three different scenarios with regards to the risk of developing HSMI, and to calculate the probability for each cohort of developing HSMI, independent of their actual disease-status. The model suggested that the probability of developing HSMI was much higher in Mid-Norway than in the rest of the country. Even though PRV seems to be widely distributed in the environment, the finding that infection pressure has a large influence on the probability of developing HSMI, suggests that it might be possible to reduce the number of clinical outbreaks, if measures are taken to reduce infection pressure. However, the prospects of controlling the spread of HSMI and reducing clinical outbreaks might be difficult because of indications of large distance spread of the disease.

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