Indexed on: 16 May '15Published on: 16 May '15Published in: BMC Veterinary Research
Infections with carp edema virus, a pox virus, are known from Japanese koi populations since 1974. A characteristic clinical sign associated with this infection is lethargy and therefore the disease is called "koi sleepy disease". Diseased koi also show swollen gills, enophthalmus, and skin lesions. Mortality rates up to 80 % are described. For a long period of time, disease outbreaks seemed to be restricted to Japan. However, during the last years clinical outbreaks of koi sleepy disease also occurred in the UK and in the Netherlands.In spring 2014 koi from different ponds showing lethargic behavior, skin ulcers, inflammation of the anus, enophthalmus, and gill necrosis were presented to the laboratory for diagnosis. In all cases, new koi had been purchased earlier that spring from the same retailer and introduced into existing populations. Eleven koi from six ponds were examined for ectoparasites and for bacterial and viral infections (cyprinid herpesviruses in general and especially koi herpesvirus (KHV) known formally as Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3); and Carp Edema Virus). In most of the cases parasites were not detected from skin and gills. Only opportunistic freshwater bacteria were isolated from skin ulcers. In cell cultures no cytopathic effect was observed, and none of the samples gave positive results in PCR tests for cyprinid herpesviruses. By analyzing gill tissues for CEV in seven out of eleven samples by a nested PCR, PCR products of 547 bp and 180 bp (by using nested primers) could be amplified. An outbreak of Koi Sleepy Disease was confirmed by sequencing of the PCR products. These results confirm the presence of CEV in German koi populations.A clinical outbreak of "koi sleepy disease" due to an infection with Carp Edema Virus was confirmed for the first time in Germany. To avoid transmission of CEV to common carp testing of CEV should become part of fish disease surveillance programs.