Lymphocystis disease, caused by the iridovirus lymphocystis disease virus (LCDV), is characterized by the appearance of tumour-like lesions on the skin of affected animals associated with several environmental factors and/or with stress due to the intensive culture conditions of fish farms. In a previous study, the genomes of a new LCDV species, LCDV-Sa, were detected, together with 2 previously unknown viruses, Sparus aurata papillomavirus 1 (SaPV1) and Sparus aurata polyomavirus 1 (SaPyV1). Gilthead seabream from 17 fish farms in Spain, Italy and Turkey were sampled between 2009 and 2015 to investigate the role of the newly described SaPV1 and SaPyV1 viruses in lymphocystis disease development. Our results show that in diseased fish, either or both of the new viruses are almost invariably detected together with LCDV (98%). In asymptomatic fish, these viruses were detected in a much lower percentage (28%) and mostly in concurrence with LCDV (24%). These data confirm the suspected association among the 3 different viruses during lymphocystis disease development in gilthead seabream and warrant future studies to establish their respective contributions.
Keywords: Gilthead seabream; LCDV-Sa; Lymphocystis disease virus; New fish viruses; Papillomavirus 1; Polyomavirus 1; Sparus aurata; Virus survey.