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Simultaneous Isolation and Identification of Largemouth Bass Virus and Rhabdovirus from Moribund Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)

Largemouth bass is an important commercially farmed fish in China, but the rapid expansion of its breeding has resulted in increased incidence of diseases caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites. In this study, moribund largemouth bass containing ulcer foci on body surfaces indicated the most likely pathogens were iridovirus and rhabdovirus members and this was confirmed using a combination of immunohistochemistry, cell culture, electron microscopy and conserved gene sequence analysis. We identified that these fish had been co-infected with these viruses. We observed bullet-shaped virions (100–140 nm long and 50–100 nm in diameter) along with hexagonal virions with 140 nm diameters in cell culture inoculated with tissue homogenates. The viruses were plaque purified and a comparison of the highly conserved regions of the genome of these viruses indicated that they are most similar to largemouth bass virus (LMBV) and hybrid snakehead rhabdovirus (HSHRV), respectively. Regression infection experiments indicated fish mortalities for LMBV-FS2021 and HSHRV-MS2021 were 86.7 and 11.1%, respectively. While co-infection resulted in 93.3% mortality that was significantly (p < 0.05) higher than the single infections even though the viral loads differed by >100-fold. Overall, we simultaneously isolated and identified LMBV and a HSHRV-like virus from diseased largemouth bass, and our results can provide novel ideas for the prevention and treatment of combined virus infection especially in largemouth bass.



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