RT-PCR methods have been applied to the detection and sequencing of the glycoprotein gene of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV), the rhabdovirus which causes viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) in farmed salmonid fish. Phylogenetic analysis of a 360 nt region of the glycoprotein gene from a range of marine and fresh water VHSV isolates identified three genogroups, I-III. Significantly, two virus isolates recovered from ulcerated North Sea cod caught off the Shetland Islands, and an isolate recovered from diseased turbot farmed on the island of Gigha, Scotland were assigned to the same genogroup. Moreover, a virus isolated from diseased turbot farmed on the Baltic Sea coast shared 99.4% nucleotide sequence similarity with a virus associated with a VHS outbreak in rainbow trout. This is the first time that a genetic link between a VHS outbreak and natural VHSV infections of marine fish species has been demonstrated.


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