First report of carp edema virus in the mortality of wild common carp Cyprinus carpio in North America.
ABSTRACT: Carp edema virus (CEV) is an unclassified poxvirus that infects skin and gill tissue to cause koi sleepy disease. In the USA, CEV was first detected in 1996 in a California koi wholesaler, and has since been reported sporadically only within imported and domestic koi. Common carp Cyprinus carpio are a non-native species now present in most waterways in the USA. In May 2017, >526 large adult common carp in spawning condition died in Mill Pond, Park Ridge, NJ, USA. The water temperature during the kill was 15°C and the affected fish displayed marked lethargy prior to death. The presence of CEV was confirmed by endpoint PCR, real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), making this the first report of CEV associated with a wild carp kill in North America. Phylogenetic analysis of a region of the 4a gene encoding the major core protein clustered the CEV strain among others in genogroup I, which includes CEV strains previously detected in common carp cultured in Europe. Gill histopathology included severe lamellar fusion and apoptosis in the interlamellar region and TEM identified cytoplasmic virions consistent in morphology with CEV in the branchial epithelial cells. Five months following the mortality, surviving fish were collected and screened for CEV by purifying and concentrating virus from the gills and testing with qPCR. No evidence of CEV was found, supporting previous studies showing CEV is not detectable in gills after abatement of clinical signs.