Letter | Published:

Isolation and Identification of the Causative Agent of “Red Disease” of Pike (Esox lucius L. 1766)


RED disease has been described as an acute disease of pike fry, with unknown aetiology, causing severe losses in Dutch pike culture1. Its name was derived from the haemorrhagic lesions in the trunk, usually situated above the pelvic fins, and visible as bilateral red swollen areas in the diseased fry. In a serious outbreak during the spring of 1972 at a hatchery near Lelystad, only 0.6% of about 1,850,000 cultured young pike reached a length of 4 to 5 cm and could be used for stocking inland fishing waters. About 86% of the total mortality rate was due to red disease. Healthy fry placed in the same tank as diseased fry became infected, and it was concluded that the disease could be transmitted through water. No evidence was obtained that the disease was caused by bacteria. Here we describe work which demonstrates that the disease is caused by a rhabdovirus.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Bootsma, R., J. Fish. Biol, 3, 417 (1971).

  2. 2

    Gravell, M., and Malsberger, R. G., Ann. NY Acad. Sci., 126, 555 (1965).

  3. 3

    Fijan, N., Petrinec, Z., Sulimanovic, D., and Zwillenberg, L. O., Veteriwrski Arhiv., 41, 125 (1971).

  4. 4

    De Kinkelin, P., and Scherrer, R., Ann. Recher. Veter., 1, 17 (1970).

  5. 5

    Zwillenberg, L. O., Jensen, M. H., and Zwillenberg, H. L., Arch. Ges. Vimsforsch., 17, 1 (1965).

  6. 6

    Vestergard-Jorgensen, P. E., Riv. Ital. Piscic. Itiopat., 5, 13 (1970).

  7. 7

    Amend, D. F., and Chambers, V. C., J. Fish. Res. Bd. Canada, 27, 1285 (1970).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.