Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus



viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus


  • Last modified
  • 19 February 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Virus
  •   Unknown: "Positive sense ssRNA viruses"
  •     Unknown: "RNA viruses"
  •       Order: Mononegavirales
  •         Family: Rhabdoviridae
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Preferred Scientific Name

  • viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus

International Common Names

  • English: Egtved virus; viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus

English acronym

  • VHSV

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Virus
  •     Unknown: "Positive sense ssRNA viruses"
  •         Unknown: "RNA viruses"
  •             Order: Mononegavirales
  •                 Family: Rhabdoviridae
  •                     Genus: Novirhabdovirus
  •                         Species: viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


AzerbaijanNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
BahrainDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BhutanNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
Brunei DarussalamDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
-Hong KongDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Georgia (Republic of)Disease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
IndonesiaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
IranDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
IraqDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
IsraelNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
JapanNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
JordanNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
KazakhstanDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Korea, DPRDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Korea, Republic ofPresentOIE Handistatus, 2005
Kuwait1997OIE Handistatus, 2005
LebanonDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
-Peninsular MalaysiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
-SabahNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
-SarawakNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
MongoliaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MyanmarNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
NepalNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
OmanDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
PhilippinesNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
QatarNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
SingaporeDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Sri LankaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SyriaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TaiwanDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TajikistanNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
ThailandDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TurkeyPresentOIE Handistatus, 2005
TurkmenistanDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
United Arab EmiratesNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
UzbekistanDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
VietnamNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
YemenNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005


AlgeriaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
AngolaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
BeninNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
BotswanaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Burkina FasoNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
BurundiDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
CameroonDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Cape VerdeDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Central African RepublicDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ChadNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
Congo Democratic RepublicDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Côte d'IvoireNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
DjiboutiDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
EgyptDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
EritreaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
EthiopiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
GhanaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Guinea-BissauNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
KenyaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
LibyaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
MadagascarDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MalawiNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
MaliNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
MauritiusDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MoroccoNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
MozambiqueNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
NigeriaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
RéunionNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
RwandaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
Sao Tome and PrincipeDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SenegalNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
SeychellesDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SomaliaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
South AfricaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SudanDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SwazilandDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TanzaniaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
TogoDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TunisiaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
UgandaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ZambiaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
ZimbabweDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005

North America

BermudaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
CanadaOIE Handistatus, 2005
MexicoDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
USAPresentOIE Handistatus, 2005

Central America and Caribbean

BarbadosDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BelizeDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
British Virgin IslandsDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Cayman IslandsDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Costa RicaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
CubaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
CuraçaoDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
DominicaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Dominican RepublicDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
El SalvadorNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
GuadeloupeNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
GuatemalaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
HaitiDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
HondurasDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
JamaicaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MartiniqueDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
NicaraguaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
PanamaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Saint Kitts and NevisDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Trinidad and TobagoDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005

South America

ArgentinaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BoliviaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BrazilDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ChileDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ColombiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
EcuadorNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
Falkland IslandsDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
French GuianaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
GuyanaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ParaguayDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
PeruDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
UruguayDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
VenezuelaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005


AndorraDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
AustriaPresentOIE Handistatus, 2005
BelarusDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BelgiumPresentOIE Handistatus, 2005
Bosnia-HercegovinaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BulgariaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
CroatiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
CyprusDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Czech RepublicPresentOIE Handistatus, 2005
DenmarkOIE Handistatus, 2005
Estonia2002OIE Handistatus, 2005
FinlandPresentOIE Handistatus, 2005
France2003OIE Handistatus, 2005
GermanyPresentOIE Handistatus, 2005
GreeceDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
HungaryDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
IcelandDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Ireland1997OIE Handistatus, 2005
Isle of Man (UK)Disease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ItalyPresentOIE Handistatus, 2005
JerseyDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Latvia1982OIE Handistatus, 2005
LiechtensteinDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
LithuaniaCAB Abstracts data miningOIE Handistatus, 2005
Luxembourg1996OIE Handistatus, 2005
MacedoniaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MaltaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MoldovaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Netherlands1992OIE Handistatus, 2005
Norway1998OIE Handistatus, 2005
PolandPresentOIE Handistatus, 2005
PortugalDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
RomaniaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Russian FederationDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Slovakia1988OIE Handistatus, 2005
Slovenia1997OIE Handistatus, 2005
SpainDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Sweden2002OIE Handistatus, 2005
Switzerland2003OIE Handistatus, 2005
UK1994OIE Handistatus, 2005
-Northern IrelandDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
UkraineDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Yugoslavia (former)No information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)No information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005


AustraliaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
French PolynesiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
New CaledoniaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
New ZealandDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SamoaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
VanuatuDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Wallis and Futuna IslandsNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005

Pathogen Characteristics

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Virus morphology and biochemistry

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus is placed within the family Rhabdoviridae in the Novirhabdovirus genus (Einer-Jensen, et al., 2004), because it is currently regarded as distant to viruses in the lyssavirus genus on genetic grounds (Wunner et al., 1995). The type species of Novirhabdovirus is infectious haematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV). It is a bullet-shaped virus and, by electron microscopy, measures 70 nm width by 180 nm length. It is also enveloped, and the envelope contains the membrane glycoprotein, which is the major neutralizing surface antigen (Jørgensen et al., 1995). This is in common with other mammalian rhabdoviruses and the fish rhabdovirus IHNV (Luo et al., 1988; Benmansour et al., 1991; Huang, 1993).

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus is composed of a single-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecule, four structural proteins and the virion-associated polymerase (Lenoir and de Kinkelin, 1975; de Kinkelin et al., 1980; Benmansour et al., 1994). The structural proteins are the envelope glycoprotein (G), the nucleoprotein (N), the polymerase-associated protein (M1) and the matrix protein (M2). In addition, a non-virion (NV) protein is expressed in infected cells, but the function of this is not known (Schuetze et al., 1996; Kurath et al., 1997).

There have been no research studies on the assembly of the structural proteins of VHSV in relation to the nucleic acid. Knowledge of virus assembly for rhabdoviruses overall is derived from studies in particular on the type vesiculovirus, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), and the type lyssavirus, rabies virus (RV).

The RNA is helically wound and nucleoprotein has a close association with the RNA molecule, although the precise stabilizing forces have not been described. In RV, the internal matrix protein M1 is closely associated with the N protein (Prehaud et al., 1992) and in VSV the M1 protein is associated with the polymerase (L) protein (Banerjee and Barik, 1992). In VSV, the external matrix protein (M2) is closely associated with the nucleoprotein core structure (Wilson and Lenard, 1981) and the external envelope glycoprotein (G), which it stabilizes (Lyles et al., 1992).

Forms of the virus

In common with many RNA viruses with a negative-strand polarity genome, defective interfering (DI) particles are readily produced which are shorter and have a smaller RNA molecule than normal infectious particles. Such particles interfere with the standard complete infectious virus at the cellular level by competing for cell receptor binding sites and thereby blocking efficient replication of the standard full length virus (Wunner, 1985).

Serotypes and strains

Three serotypes of VHSV have been described: type 1, represented by strain F1 (Denmark), type 2, represented by the Heddedam isolate from Denmark, and type 3, represented by the French strain 23/75 isolated from brown trout by de Kinkelin and Le Berre (1977). These three serotypes were defined by a serum neutralization test. However, as Olesen et al. (1993) reported, there was considerable overlap of strains within and between these serotypes. These authors attempted to define more realistic serogroups, using cross-reacting polyclonal antiserum and four neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). It was suggested that three serogroups were recognizable: serogroup I, neutralized by all four MAbs and the anti-F1 antibody, serogroup II, neutralized by only one MAb and the anti-F1 antibody, and serogroup III, not neutralized by any MAb but with low or no neutralization by the F1 antibody.

Although three serogroups were identified, Olesen et al. (1993) pointed out that 120 of 127 isolates were neutralized by an anti-F1 antiserum and these therefore showed common antigenic determinants. Serogroups were therefore in reality subtypes within a single serotype and the definition of the subtypes would be dependent on the MAbs used. What emerged from the study of newly classified VHS viruses by Olesen et al. (1993) was that there had been an antigenic shift from the period 1965-81 to 1992 in Denmark, by which the group I isolates, including F1 type isolate, had been largely displaced by new group II isolates in a single year from 1991 to 1992. What is known about new marine VHSV strains in European waters from cod and haddock in the North Sea and turbot from Gigha Island is that all the three neutralization serogroups are represented. It is also possible that the freshwater serotypes in Denmark had their origin in the marine environment.

In this connection, the glycoprotein gene sequence comparisons for a variety of marine and freshwater strains by Stone et al. (1997) are relevant. Phylogenetic analysis of a 360-nucleotide region of the G gene revealed three genogroups. Dendrograms based on the deduced amino acid sequence derived two genogroups. In genogroup II, strain 23-75 from brown trout in France, cod-79 (the first cod isolate from Denmark) and the Scottish Gigha turbot isolate (814) showed 100% homology for amino acid sequence. It was therefore postulated that these isolates from both fresh water and sea water shared a common evolution.


The recent review article (Einer-Jensen et al., 2004) points to a likely marine origin for the freshwater virulent isolates of VHS virus and synthesizes much of the available information in the literature. A previous paper by Thiery et al., (2003) reported G gene sequence information on historical French isolates from 1971 to 1999 and indicated a good correlation between the geographical origin of the isolates and their genetic characteristics. In another significant paper, Betts and Stone (2000) reported a complete genome sequence analysis of two virulent freshwater and two avirulent marine isolates, in a search for loci of virulence. As few as 10 amino acid substitutions were identically substituted between the freshwater and marine isolates, indicating a very limited number of amino acid substitutions may be required for a change of VHSV virulence for salmonids.


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Banerjee AK, Barik S, 1992. Gene expression of vesicular stomatitis virus genome RNA. Virology, 188:417-428

Benmansour A, Leblois H, Coulon P, Tuffereau C, Gaudin Y, Flamand A, Lafay F, 1991. Antigenicity of rabies virus glycoprotein. Journal of Virology, 65(8):4198-4203; 27 ref

Benmansour A, Paubert G, Bernard J, Kinkelin Pde, 1994. The polymerase-associated protein (M1) and the matrix protein (M2) from a virulent and an avirulent strain of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV), a fish rhabdovirus. Virology (New York), 198(2):602-612; 42 ref

Betts AM, Stone DM, 2000. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the entire coding regions of virulent and avirulent strains of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus. Virus Genes, 20(3):259-262

Einer-Jensen K, Ahrens P, Forsberg R, Lorenzen N, 2004. Evolution of the fish rhabdovirus viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus. Journal of General Virology. 85:1167-1179

Huang C, 1993. Mapping of antigenic sites of infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus glycoprotein. PhD thesis. Seattle, USA: University of Washington

Jrgensen PEV, Einer-Jensen K, Higman KH, Winton JR, 1995. Sequence comparison of the central region of the glycoprotein gene of neutralizable, non-neutralizable, and serially passed isolates of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 23(1):77-82

Kinkelin Pde, Bearzotti-Le Berre M, Bernard J, 1980. Viral hemorrhagic septicemia of rainbow trout: selection of a thermoresistant virus variant and comparison of polypeptide synthesis with the wild-type virus strain. Journal of Virology, 36(3):652-658

Kinkelin Pde, Le Berre M, 1977. Isolement d’un rhabdovirus pathogène de la truite fario (Salmo trutta, L. 1766). Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires des Séances, Académie des Sciences (Paris), 284:101-104

Kurath G, Higman KH, Björklund HV, 1997. Distribution and variation of NV genes in fish rhabdoviruses. Journal of General Virology, 78(1):113-117

Lenoir G, Kinkelin PDe, 1975. Fish rhabdoviruses: comparative study of protein structure. Journal of Virology, 16(2):259-262

Luo L, Li Y, Snyder RM, Wagner RR, 1988. Point mutations in glycoprotein gene of vesicular stomatitis virus (New Jersey serotype) selected by resistance to neutralization by epitope-specific monoclonal antibodies. Virology, 163(2):341-348; 27 ref

Lyles DS, McKenzie M, Parce JW, 1992. Subunit interactions of vesicular stomatitis virus envelope glycoprotein stabilized by binding to viral matrix protein. Journal of Virology, 66(1):349-358; 24 ref

OIE Handistatus, 2005. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (data set for 2004). Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties

Olesen NJ, Lorenzen N, Jrgensen PEV, 1993. Serological differences among isolates of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus detected by neutralizing monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 16(3):163-170

Préhaud C, Nel K, Bishop DHL, 1992. Baculovirus-expressed rabies virus M1 protein is not phosphorylated: it forms multiple complexes with expressed rabies N protein. Virology (New York), 189(2):766-770; 12 ref

Schütze H, Enzmann PJ, Mundt E, Mettenleiter TC, 1996. Identification of the non-virion (NV) protein of fish rhabdoviruses viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus and infectious haematopoietic necrosis virus. Journal of General Virology, 77(6):1259-1263

Stone DM, Way K, Dixon PF, 1997. Nucleotide sequence of the glycoprotein gene of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) viruses from different geographical areas: a link between VHS in farmed fish species and viruses isolated from North Sea cod (Gadus morhua L.). Journal of General Virology, 78(6):1319-1326

Thiéry R, Boisséson Cde, Jeffroy J, Castric J, Kinkelin Pde, Benmansour A, 2003. Phylogenetic analysis of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) isolates from France (1971-1999). Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 52(1):29-37

Wilson T, Lenard J, 1981. Interactions of wild type and mutant M protein of vesicular stomatitis virus with nucleocapsids in vitro. Biochemistry, 20:1349-1354

Wunner WH, 1985. Growth, purification and titration of rhabdoviruses. In: Mahy BWJ, ed. Virology, a Practical Approach. Oxford: IRL Press, 79-93

Wunner WH, Calisher CH, Dietzgen RG, Jackson AO, Kitajima EW, Lafon M, Leong JC, Nichol S, Peters D, Smith JS, Walker PJ, 1995. Family Rhabdoviridae. In: Murphy FA, Fauquet CM, Bishop DHL, Ghabrial SA, Jarvis AW, Martelli GP, Mayo MA, Summers MD, eds. Virus Taxonomy. Sixth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Archives of Virology, Supplement 10, 275-288

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