Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 6342
Title: Survey of pathogens in juvenile salmon Onchorhynchus spp. migrating through Pacific Northwest estuaries
Author: M. R. Arkoosh, E. R. Clemons, Anna N. Kagley, C. L. Stafford, A. Glass, K. C. Jacobson, P. Reno, Mark S. Myers, Edmundo Casillas, Lyndal L. Johnson, F. Lodge, T. K. Collier
Publication Year: 2004
Journal: Journal of Aquatic Animal Health
Volume: 16
Issue: 4
Pages: 186-196

 Although the adverse impact of pathogens on salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest is often discussed and recognized, little is currently known regarding the incidence and corresponding significance of delayed disease–induced mortalities.  In the study reported herein, we surveyed the presence and prevalence of selected micro– and macroparasites in out–migrant juvenile coho salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch and Chinook salmon O. tshawytscha from 12 coastal estuaries in the Pacific Northwest over a 6–year period (19962001).  The major finding of this study was the widespread occurrence of pathogens in wild salmon from Pacific Northwest estuaries.  The six most prevalent pathogens infecting both juvenile Chinook and coho salmon were Renibacterium salmoninarum, Nanophyetus salmincola, an erythrocytic cytoplasmic virus (erythrocytic inclusion body syndrome or erythrocytic necrosis virus), and three gram–negative bacteria (Listonella anguillarum, Yersinia ruckeri, and Aeromonas salmonicida).  The most prevalent pathogen in both Chinook and coho salmon was N. salmincola, followed by the pathogens R. salmoninarum and the erythrocytic cytoplasmic virus.  Statistically significant differences in the prevalence of R. salmoninarum and N. salmincola were observed between Chinook and coho salmon.  Based on the prevalence of pathogens observed in this study, disease appears to be a potentially significant factor governing the population numbers of salmon in the Pacific Northwest.  Development of a detailed understanding of the principal components influencing the ecology of infectious disease will aid in the development of management and control strategies to mitigate disease in and hence further the recovery of salmon stocks listed under the Endangered Species Act.

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