Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus specialization in a multihost salmonid system

Evolutionary Applications
By: , and 



Many pathogens interact and evolve in communities where more than one host species is present, yet our understanding of host–pathogen specialization is mostly informed by laboratory studies with single species. Managing diseases in the wild, however, requires understanding how host–pathogen specialization affects hosts in diverse communities. Juvenile salmonid mortality in hatcheries caused by infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) has important implications for salmonid conservation programs. Here, we evaluate evidence for IHNV specialization on three salmonid hosts and assess how this influences intra‐ and interspecific transmission in hatchery‐reared salmonids. We expect that while more generalist viral lineages should pose an equal risk of infection across host types, viral specialization will increase intraspecific transmission. We used Bayesian models and data from 24 hatcheries in the Columbia River Basin to reconstruct the exposure history of hatcheries with two IHNV lineages, MD and UC, allowing us to estimate the probability of juvenile infection with these lineages in three salmonid host types. Our results show that lineage MD is specialized on steelhead trout and perhaps rainbow trout (both Oncorhynchus mykiss), whereas lineage UC displayed a generalist phenotype across steelhead trout, rainbow trout, and Chinook salmon. Furthermore, our results suggest the presence of specialist–generalist trade‐offs because, while lineage UC had moderate probabilities of infection across host types, lineage MD had a small probability of infection in its nonadapted host type, Chinook salmon. Thus, in addition to quantifying probabilities of infection of socially and economically important salmonid hosts with different IHNV lineages, our results provide insights into the trade‐offs that viral lineages incur in multihost communities. Our results suggest that knowledge of the specialist/generalist strategies of circulating viral lineages could be useful in salmonid conservation programs to control disease.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus specialization in a multihost salmonid system
Series title Evolutionary Applications
DOI 10.1111/eva.12931
Volume 13
Issue 8
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Western Fisheries Research Center
Description 13 p.
First page 1841
Last page 1853
Country United States
State Oregon, Washington
Other Geospatial Columbia River Basin
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