Abalone Herpesvirus

Authored by: Mark St. J. Crane , Kenneth A. McColl , Jeff A. Cowley , Kevin Ellard , Keith W. Savin , Serge Corbeil , Nicholas J.G. Moody , Mark Fegan , Simone Warner

Molecular Detection of Animal Viral Pathogens

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9781498700368
eBook ISBN: 9781498700375
Adobe ISBN:


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Abalone were first farmed in Japan and China in the 1950s. However, it took until the 1990s before aquaculture of various abalone species began to expand significantly in various countries, including the United States, Mexico, Chile, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Ireland, and Iceland [1]. While the fishery in Tasmania in southern Australia is the predominant world supplier of wild abalone (approx. 2500 tons per annum), China is the largest producer of farmed abalone, with annual production of mostly Taiwan abalone (jiukong; Haliotis diversicolor supertexta) in the order of 50,000 tons per annum. As abalone aquaculture has expanded, various parasitic (e.g., perkinsosis [2]), bacterial (e.g., vibriosis [3], withering syndrome [4]), and viral diseases [5-7] have emerged. Of the viral diseases, the most recent to emerge in 2003 in Taiwan was a herpes-like virus associated with mass mortality of farmed H. diversicolor supertexta [8]. Diseased abalone displayed necrotic lesions with hemocytic infiltrations in nerve tissues, and the presence of a viral infection was confirmed by electron microscopic examination. Virion ultrastructural and morphogenesis were indicative of a herpesvirus. In 2005, mass mortalities also occurred in green-lip (Haliotis laevigata) and blacklip (Haliotis rubra) abalone being farmed in Victoria, Australia [9]. As observed in the H. diversicolor supertexta [8], diseased abalone exhibited ganglioneuritis pathology, and electron microscopic examination of virions purified from nerve tissues confirmed the presence of a herpes-like virus [10]. Subsequently, in 2008, abalone herpesvirus (AbHV) was discovered to be the cause of mortality of wild abalone being held in a live-holding system at a processing plant in Tasmania, Australia [11].

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