An inverse relationship between water temperature and susceptibility of Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) to viral hemorrhagic septicemia, genogroup IVa (VHS) was indicated by controlled exposure studies where cumulative mortalities, viral shedding rates, and viral persistence in survivors were greatest at the coolest exposure temperatures. Among groups of specific pathogen-free (SPF) Pacific herring maintained at 8, 11, and 15 °C, cumulative mortalities after waterborne exposure to viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) were 78%, 40%, and 13%, respectively. The prevalence of survivors with VHSV-positive tissues 25 d post-exposure was 64%, 16%, and 0% (at 8, 11 and 15 °C, respectively) with viral prevalence typically higher in brain tissues than in kidney/spleen tissue pools at each temperature. Similarly, geometric mean viral titers in brain tissues and kidney/spleen tissue pools decreased at higher temperatures, and kidney/spleen titers were generally 10-fold lower than those in brain tissues at each temperature. This inverse relationship between temperature and VHS severity was likely mediated by an enhanced immune response at the warmer temperatures, where a robust type I interferon response was indicated by rapid and significant upregulation of the herring Mx gene. The effect of relatively small temperature differences on the susceptibility of a natural host to VHS provides insights into conditions that preface periodic VHSV epizootics in wild populations throughout the NE Pacific.
Additional Publication Details
Influence of temperature on viral hemorrhagic septicemia (Genogroup IVa) in Pacific herring, Clupea pallasii Valenciennes
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology