Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 8992
Title: A systematic surveillance program for infectious salmon anemia virus supports its absence in the Pacific Northwest of the United States
Author: Lori L. Gustafson, Lynn H. Creekmore, K. R. Snekvik, Jayde A. Ferguson, Janet V. Warg, Marilyn Blair, T. R. Meyers, B. A. Stewart, Kenneth I. Warheit, John Kerwin, Andrew E. Goodwin, Linda D. Rhodes, Janet E. Whaley, Maureen K. Purcell, Collette Bentz, Desiree Shasa, Joel Bader, J. R. Winton
Publication Year: 2017
Journal: Journal of Fish Diseases
Volume: 41
Issue: 2
Pages: 337-346
DOI: DOI: 10.1111/jfd.12733

In response to reported findings of infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAV) in British Columbia (BC), Canada, U.S. national, state, and tribal fisheries managers and fish health specialists developed and implemented a collaborative ISAV surveillance plan for the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.  Accordingly, over a 3-1/2 year period, 4,962 salmonids were sampled and successfully tested by real-time reverse-transcription PCR.  The sample set included multiple tissues from free-ranging Pacific salmonids from coastal regions of Alaska and Washington and farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) from Washington, all representing fish exposed to marine environments.  The survey design targeted physiologically stressed or moribund animals more vulnerable to infection with ISAV as well as species that are more susceptible to the virus.  Samples were handled with a documented chain of custody and testing protocols, and criteria for interpretation of test results were defined in advance.  All 4,962 completed tests were negative for ISAV RNA.  Results of this surveillance effort provide strong evidence to support the absence of ISAV in represented populations of free-ranging and marine farmed salmonids on the northwest coast of the United States.


An extensive surveillance of Pacific salmonids failed to identify the presence of infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAV).  This work was a dictated by US Senators from Washington & Alaska in response to a claim of discovery of ISAV in Pacific salmon by a Canadian research lab.  The results confirm that the U.S. Pacific Northwest & Alaska can be declared free of ISAV.

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Theme: Sustainable, safe and secure seafood for healthy populations and vibrant communities
Foci: Provide scientific support to ensure safe seafood for healthy populations and characterize how human activities and climate affect risks from pathogens, chemical contaminants and biotoxins