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Nadia Cherif and Amdouni Fatma
This report describes the viral epidemiology of wild fish adjacent to cage farms within the Tunisian coasts and is focused on viral nervous necrosis virus (VNNV). A total of 92 apparently healthy wild marine fish were collected near aquaculture facilities in five different coastal areas of Tunisia. The brains and eyes of fish were examined by quantitative real time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) to detect the nodavirus coat protein gene of. A total of 57 out of 92 (61.9%) samples were positive for nodavirus by qRT-PCR. This finding indicates that carrier fish occur at a considerable level in populations of wild marine fish. Samples from 13 fish species were found to be positive to the virus genome: Sarpa salpa, Trachurs trachurus, Boobs boops, Sardinella aurita, Diplodus vulgaris, Diplodus puntazzo Liza aurata, Diplodue sargus, Sparus aurata, Sardina pilchardus, Spicara maena, Spondyliosoma cantharus, and Diplodus annularis. The partial sequences of the RNA2 coat protein gene of these strains were identical with RGNNV type previously identified within farmed sea bass and sea bream species in Tunisia, with a homology >97%. With respect to the proximity of the sampling sites to the coast and to rearing facilities, results analysis can suggest that these viruses may be indigenous to Tunisian coastal waters.