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Epizootic haematopoietic necrosis virus--An assessment of the likelihood of introduction and establishment in England and Wales

Peeler, E.J., Afonso, A., Berthe, F.C.J., Brun, E., Rodgers, C.J., Roque, A., Whittington, R.J., Thrush, M.A.
Preventive veterinary medicine 2009 v.91 no.2-4 pp. 241-253
carp, perch, trout, fish diseases, Epizootic haematopoietic necrosis virus, imports, risk assessment, disease transmission, disease vectors, sanitation, England, Wales, Australia
Epizootic haematopoietic necrosis virus (EHNV) is an iridovirus that affects perch (Perca fluviatilis) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). It emerged in Australia in the 1980s and has not been discovered elsewhere. It causes a high level of mortality in perch resulting in steep population declines. The main possible routes of introduction of the virus to England and Wales are the importation of infected live fish or carcasses. However, no trade in live susceptible species is permitted under current legislation, and no importation of carcasses currently takes place. The virus is hardy and low levels of challenge can infect perch. Therefore, mechanical transmission through the importation of non-susceptible fish species should be considered as a potential route of introduction and establishment. Carp (Cyprinus carpio) have been imported to the UK from Australia for release into still-water fisheries. A qualitative risk assessment concluded that the likelihood of EHNV introduction and establishment in England and Wales with the importation of a consignment of carp was very low. The level of uncertainty at a number of steps in the risk assessment scenario tree was high, notably the likelihood that carp become contaminated with the virus and whether effective contact (resulting in pathogen transmission) is made between the introduced carp and susceptible species in England and Wales. The virus would only establish when the water temperature is greater than 12°C. Analysis of 10 years of data from two rivers in south-west England indicated that establishment could occur over a period of at least 14 weeks a year in southern England (when average water temperature exceed 12°C). Imports of live fish from Australia need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine which, if any, sanitary measures are required to reduce the assessed risk to an acceptable level.