KHV: Diagnosis

KHV is often diagnosed based on gross and histological pathology. See the section on Signs and Symptoms for more detail on the pathological signs of the virus. PCR can also be used to detect KHV and is the most common method of detection. In a 2009 survey of 48 countries the majority of labs were using conventional PCR, and a smaller number were using nested or real time PCR.  Some labs also reported the use of virus isolation and ELISA tests to detect KHV. 

Certain diagnostic labs will test tissues and blood samples for the presence of KHV. To submit samples you can send alive or dead fish in sealed, sterile packaging. Either whole fish or organs can be sent on ice (not frozen) for PCR or blood samples for ELISA testing. If virus isolation is desired it can be accomplished by sending tissues from fish in the acute phase of disease including the gill tissue, spleen, and kidney preserved in 80-100% ethanol. Please contact your local laboratories to determine which, if any, of these tests are available.