The pathogenesis of the recently recognized “red vent syndrome” in wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) is not fully understood. Pathologic observations indicate that this syndrome is associated with the presence of nonencapsulated larvae of the nematode Anisakis simplex in the body wall, the lower intestinal wall, and the visceral cavity surrounding the vent region. We evaluated the relationship between the occurrence of red vent syndrome and intensity of infection with Anisakis sp. larvae in naturally infected fish. Salmon caught by sport anglers were opportunistically evaluated to detect red vent syndrome. We included 106 salmon with red vent syndrome and 98 without red vent syndrome in this study. Intensity of infection was established by counting the total number of perivisceral larvae and by determining the number of larvae per gram in 10 g of pepsin-digested perianal tissue. The severity of inflammatory changes was also evaluated in standard histologic sections of the perianal area using a semiquantitative scale. Salmon with red vent syndrome had significantly higher intensity of inflammation than salmon without red vent syndrome (P=0.008). The odds of having red vent syndrome increased with the number of perianal larvae per gram of perianal tissue (P=0.002; odds ratio [OR[=1.12; 95% confidence interval: [1.05; 1.22]) but not with the number of perivisceral larvae, fish length, or gender. Although these results support the association between this syndrome and intensity of infection by A. simplex, the relationship is not strong (OR near 1), suggesting that the clinical expression of red vent syndrome at an individual level, and the emergence of this disease on a global scale, must be determined by other factors, such as timing of infection.
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Vol. 49 • No. 2