Evidence for interspecies transmission of oyster herpesvirus in marine bivalves.
Since 1991, numerous herpesvirus infections associated with high mortality have been reported around the world in various marine bivalve species. In order to determine whether these infections are due to ostreid herpesvirus-1 (OsHV1), a previously characterized pathogen of the Japanese oyster (Crassostrea gigas), PCR analysis was carried out on 30 samples of larvae collected from four bivalve species (C. gigas, Ostrea edulis, Ruditapes decussatus and Ruditapes philippinarum), most exhibiting mortality prior to collection. The samples were obtained from 3 hatcheries on the Atlantic and Channel coasts of France in Normandy, during 1995-9. All samples were shown to be infected by OsHV1. Viral genomes in three samples of C. gigas and three of R. philippinarum that originated from the same hatchery were unusual in bearing a deletion of at least 2.8 kbp in an inverted repeat region. The results demonstrate that OsHV1 is capable of infecting several bivalve species, and this raises the possibility that interspecies transmission may be promoted by intensive rearing in modern hatcheries.