Viral nervous necrosis (VNN) is the most important viral disease affecting farmed fish in the Mediterranean. VNN can affect multiple fish species in all production phases (broodstock, hatchery, nursery and ongrowing) and sizes, but it is especially severe in larvae and juvenile stages, where can it cause up to 100% mortalities. European sea bass has been and is still the most affected species, and VNN in gilthead sea bream has become an emerging problem in recent years affecting larvae and juveniles and associated to the presence of new nervous necrosis virus (NNV) reassortants. The relevance of this disease as one of the main biological hazards for Mediterranean finfish farming has been particularly addressed in two recent H2020 projects: PerformFISH and MedAID. The presence of the virus in the environment and in the farming systems poses a serious menace for the development of the Mediterranean finfish aquaculture. Several risks associated to the VNN development in farms have been identified in the different phases of the farming system. The main risks concerning VNN affecting gilthead seabream and European seabass have been identified as restocking from wild fish in broodstock facilities, the origin of eggs and juveniles, quality water supply and live food in hatcheries and nurseries, and infected juveniles and location of farms in endemic areas for on-growing sites. Due to the potential severe impact, a holistic integrated management approach is the best strategy to control VNN in marine fish farms. This approach should include continuous surveillance and early and accurate diagnosis, essential for an early intervention when an outbreak occurs, the implementation of biosecurity and disinfection procedures in the production sites and systematic vaccination with effective vaccines. Outbreak management practices, clinical aspects, diagnostic techniques, and disinfections methods are reviewed in detail in this paper. Additionally, new strategies are becoming more relevant, such as the use of genetic resistant lines and boosting the fish immune system though nutrition.
- Disease management
- Sea bass
- Sea bream
- Viral disease
- Viral encephalopathy and retinopathy