In-depth health surveillance and clinical nutrition in farmed Atlantic salmon: a strategic attempt to detect and mitigate an HSMI outbreak

Skretting water
Veterinary Research 54(1), 01 January 2023
J. Rennemo, S. Myrvold, K. Berge, O. Kileng, B. Pedersen
D.S. Aksberg, P. Lisik, D. Crappe, C. Mcgurk, E. Rimstad, Ø. Wessel, E.O. Koppang, H. Bjørgen


Fish health personnel have limited tools in combatting viral diseases such as heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI) in open net-pen farmed Atlantic salmon. In this study, we aimed to predict HSMI by intensified health monitoring and apply clinical nutrition to mitigate the condition. We followed a commercial cohort (G1) of Atlantic salmon that was PRV-1 naïve when transferred to a sea cage at a location where HSMI outbreaks commonly occur. The fish in the other cages (G2-G6) at the location had a different origin than G1 and were PRV-1 positive prior to sea transfer. By continuous analysis of production data and sequentially (approximately every fourth week) performing autopsy, RT-qPCR (for PRV-1 and selected immune genes), blood and histological analysis of 10 fish from G1 and G2, we identified the time of PRV-1 infection in G1 and predicted the onset of HSMI prior to any clinical signs of disease. Identical sequences across partial genomes of PRV-1 isolates from G1 and G2 suggest the likely transfer from infected cages to G1. The isolates were grouped into a genogroup known to be of high virulence. A commercial health diet was applied during the HSMI outbreak, and the fish had low mortality and an unaffected appetite. In conclusion, we show that fish health and welfare can benefit from in-depth health monitoring. We also discuss the potential health value of clinical nutrition as a mean to mitigate HSMI.