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RANA — Result In Brief

Project ID: 6459
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Denmark

Assessing risk of iridoviral diseases in European fish

Assessing the risk and outcome of aquatic ecosystems by iridoviruses is required to shape the course of action in case of a viral outbreak. European scientists developed methods for diagnosing such phenomena and proposed measures for their containment.
Assessing risk of iridoviral diseases in European fish
Iridoviruses acquired their name from the iridescence-like effect they cause in heavily infected insects. Although their primary hosts are invertebrates, fish and amphibian species can also become infected by iridoviruses.

Since very little is known about the pathogenesis of iridoviruses on fish, the EU-funded RANA initiative aimed to assess the threat of systemic iridoviruses to farmed and wild freshwater fish and amphibian wildlife in the EU. To answer this question, project scientists performed a series of experimental infection trials on a range of important European species of farmed and wild freshwater fish and wild amphibians.

Immunological diagnostic methods were developed to facilitate the characterisation of the pathology and pathogenesis for each susceptible species and to allow for rapid diagnosis in the event of a future outbreak in the European Union. Molecular methods were also developed for the differentiation of highly virulent from less potent virus isolates.

By applying epidemiological principles, the project managed to develop a risk assessment model for assessing the impact of viruses and the potential pathways of their spread. Furthermore, the potential of aquatic pet trade to act as a path of disease introduction and spread was analysed.

Although further work would be needed to conclusively verify the assessment risk data, the RANA project made recommendations for future actions necessary to prevent incursion and spread of serious iridoviral diseases in the EU.

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