Salmonid alphavirus (SAV), genus Alphavirus, family Togaviridae, is a single-stranded RNA virus affecting Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). It is known to be responsible for pancreas disease (PD) and sleeping disease (SD) which are increasing problems, causing high fish mortality and economic losses in the European aquaculture industry. Pancreas disease was first described in Atlantic salmon in Scotland in 1976 and a similar disease caused by the closely related sleeping disease virus was first described in rainbow trout in France. There have also been reports of salmonid alphavirus infections from other European countries, including Ireland, England, Norway, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Salmonid alphaviruses have been classified into six subtypes (SAV1–6). SAV1 and SAV4–6 cause pancreas disease in Atlantic salmon in Ireland or Scotland, SAV2 is the causative agent of sleeping disease in rainbow trout, and SAV3 has been detected in Atlantic salmon in Norway. The aim of this paper was to summarise current knowledge of infections caused by salmonid alphavirus and diagnostic methods including the newest techniques, and to briefly describe prevention from SAV infections by vaccination.
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