Piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) is an emergent virus in salmon aquaculture belonging to the family Reoviridae. PRV is associated with a growing list of pathological conditions including heart and skeletal inflammation (HSMI) of farmed Atlantic salmon. Despite widespread PRV infection in commercially farmed Atlantic salmon, information on PRV prevalence and on the genetic sequence variation of PRV in Atlantic salmon on the north Pacific Coast is limited.

PRV prevalence was close to 100% in farmed Atlantic salmon that were caught in Washington State and British Columbia following a large containment failure at a farm in northern Puget Sound. The PRV strains present in the escaped Atlantic salmon were very similar to the PRV strain reported in farmed Atlantic salmon from the source hatchery in Iceland that was used to stock commercial aquaculture sites in Washington State. This study emphasizes the need to screen Atlantic salmon broodstock for PRV, particularly where used to supply eggs to the global Atlantic salmon farming industry thereby improving our understanding of PRV epidemiology.

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