Pacific herring were susceptible to waterborne challenge with viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) throughout their early life history stages, with significantly greater cumulative mortalities occurring among VHSV-exposed groups of 9-, 44-, 54- and 76-day-old larvae than among respective control groups. Similarly, among 89-day-1-year-old and 1+year old post-metamorphosed juveniles, cumulative mortality was significantly greater in VHSV-challenged groups than in respective control groups. Larval exposure to VHSV conferred partial protection to the survivors after their metamorphosis to juveniles as shown by significantly less cumulative mortalities among juvenile groups that survived a VHS epidemic as larvae than among groups that were previously nai??ve to VHSV. Magnitude of the protection, measured as relative per cent survival, was a direct function of larval age at first exposure and was probably a reflection of gradual developmental onset of immunocompetence. These results indicate the potential for easily overlooked VHS epizootics among wild larvae in regions where the virus is endemic and emphasize the importance of early life history stages of marine fish in influencing the ecological disease processes. ?? 2007 The Authors.
Additional publication details
Larval Pacific herring, Clupea pallasii (Valenciennes), are highly susceptible to viral haemorrhagic septicaemia and survivors are partially protected after their metamorphosis to juveniles