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Salmon virus study not shared with US

Posted: December 1, 2011 - 1:09am

SEATTLE — American scientists and a senator criticized Canadian officials after the disclosure that the country failed to reveal the results of tests that appeared to show the presence of a potentially deadly salmon virus nearly a decade before a salmon-virus scare this fall.

The Canadian researcher’s work recently resurfaced after she was denied permission by a Canadian official to try to have her data published in a scientific journal.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is calling for stronger communication between the two countries.

Researchers with Simon Fraser University in British Columbia announced in October they had detected infectious salmon anemia, or ISA, in two wild juvenile Pacific salmon collected from the province’s central coast.

The disclosure prompted fears the influenza-like virus could wreck the salmon fishing industry in the Pacific Northwest.

U.S. scientists on Tuesday said they were disappointed that Canadian officials never mentioned the researcher’s earlier, 2002 work.

“We had no knowledge of any of this,” said Jim Winton, a top fish virologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Seattle who recently reviewed the researcher’s findings “No one ever revealed that there was a publication that was ready to go to a journal or that the data were as compelling as they appear to be. This is puzzling and very frustrating.”

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