US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version



Published by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service


Viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), a systemic infection of various salmonid and a few nonsalmonid fishes, is caused by a rhabdovirus designated as the viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (Office International des Epizooties 1963). The virus infection occurs in salmonids and certain other fishes of any age and may result in significant cumulative mortality. Fish that survive may become carriers. Viral hemorrhagic septicemia has been reported under various names, of which "Egtved disease" and "Infektiose Nierenschwellung und Leberdegeneration" are the best known. The viral etiology of the disease was established by Jensen (1965), and several serotypes of the virus (also known as "Egtved virus") are currently recognized.

Comprehensive reviews of the disease and the virus have been published by de Kinkelin (1983), McAllister (1979), Pilcher and Fryer (1980), Roberts (1978), and Wolf (1988).