Fish Virology

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Animal Health Laboratory provides a front-line service for the isolation and culture of salmonid viruses enzootic to Tasmania. 

Where there is a suspicion of a new or exotic virus, AHL will refer samples for testing to the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP), CSIRO, Geelong.​​

Cell lines available

Isolation of viruses can be undertaken on several different fish cell lines. The number and type of cell lines used is dependent on the type of investigation required. 

Before submitting samples, please contact Fish Virology to discuss the most appropriate cell lines to be used.


Virus isolati​on

Currently, salmonid viruses, which can be routinely isolated and identified include: 

  • Tasmanian aquabirnavirus
  • Tasmanian aquareovirus
  • pilchard orthomyxovirus


Sample​​ submission

Book with the Animal Health Laboratory before sending in samples for virus culture

We can advise on the type and number of cell lines which should be used for the investigation, and the most appropriate means of sample collection and submission. 

Although it may take up to seven days for the cell lines to be made ready, samples can be submitted immediately after booking them in and will be held by the laboratory until they can be inoculated on to the cell lines.

Submission can either be as whole-fish on ice or as tissues collected at a field station or base laboratory.

General guidance on sample collection can be found in the guidelines and procedure manual for Field Sampling of Fish for Disease Investigation and Health Monitoring.

Specific information on collecting virology samples can be found in AHL LabFact Sampling for Virology Testing.


Growth of salmonid viruses is slow. At minimum it will take at least three weeks for viruses to appear and be identified. AHL will provide interim results as appropriate.


P​re-smolt Atlantic salmon in a hatchery tank
Copyright: Scott Godwin



Centre for Aquatic Animal Health and Vaccines

Animal Health Laboratory - Specimen Reception
(Postal) PO Box 46,
Kings Meadows TAS 7249,
(Delivery) 165 Westbury Rd,
Prospect, TAS, 7250.