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

Abstract

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.

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References

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