Diseases of Aquatic Organisms


Diseases affect all facets of life - at the cell, tissue, organ, individual, population and ecosystem level. Since life originated in an aquatic medium, studies of disease phenomena in the wide array of aquatic taxa contribute significantly to the analysis, comprehension, prevention and treatment of diseases in general, including those of organisms now inhabiting terrestrial environments and of humans. DAO aims to fully cover these important research areas

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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We describe a novel syndrome in crayfish, eroded swimmeret syndrome (ESS), affecting wild female signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus. ESS causes partial or total swimmeret erosion. We observed ESS only in female signal crayfish larger than 40 mm carapace length, i.e. sexually mature and probably having carried eggs at least once. The eroded swimmerets were melanised, indicating a crayfish immune system response. We isolated Fusarium tricinctum species complex (SC), F. sambucinum SC, Saprolegnia parasitica and S. australisfrom the melanised tissue of the eroded swimmerets. ESS includes chronic Aphanomyces astaci infection and a secondary infection by Fusariumsp. In Sweden, we found female signal crayfish with ESS in 6 out of 11 populations with a prevalence below 1% in lakes with commercially productive signal crayfish populations and higher than 29% in lakes with documented signal crayfish population crashes. In Finland, the ESS prevalence was from 3.4 to 6.2% in a commercially productive population. None of the sampled male signal crayfish showed signs of ESS. A caging experiment indicated that females with at least 1 lost swimmeret carried on average 25% fewer fertilized eggs compared to females with intact swimmerets. ESS could significantly reduce individual female fecundity and thus could also affect fecundity at the population level. The decline in reproductive success due to ESS could be among the factors contributing to fluctuations in wild signal crayfish populations.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 01/2015; 112:219-228.
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    ABSTRACT: Cetaceans are well known definitive hosts of parasitic nematodes of the genus Anisakis (Nematoda: Anisakidae). Anisakid nematodes are also a health hazard for humans, potentially causing gastrointestinal infections or allergic reactions following the consumption of infected fish. In marine mammals, the nematodes develop from third-stage larvae to adults in the stomachs. In the first (or fore-) stomach, these parasites are typically associated with mucosal ulceration; parasites have not been identified in other organs. Two small cetaceans, a bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus and a harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena, presented marked gastric A. simplex infection, as well as chronic granulomatous and ulcerative dermatitis with intralesional nematodes, bordered by epithelial hyperplasia. Nematodes in the skin of the bottlenose dolphin were morphologically similar to Anisakis spp. Morphology of the parasitic remnants in the skin lesion of the harbour porpoise was indistinct, but molecular identification confirmed the presence of A. simplex. This is the first report of Anisakis spp. infection in the skin of marine mammals.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 01/2015; 112:257-263.
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    ABSTRACT: Pea crab species are globally ubiquitous parasites of marine bivalves including several major aquaculture species. However, little is known about the environmental factors that affect their recruitment into aquacultured mussels. The effect of depth and distance from shore on the recruitment of the parasitic pea crab Nepinnotheres novaezelandiae into New Zealand green-lipped mussels Perna canaliculus was examined with a field experiment. The incidence of pea crab infection of mussels over 295 d was nearly double when deployed at 5-10 m depth (1.97%) compared to 20-30 m depth (0.96%), although it was not significantly different due to the overall low period prevalence in the experimental population. The sex ratio of crabs recovered was significantly skewed towards females with a ratio of 1:14 (χ2 = 11.3, p < 0.001). Infection with pea crabs was found to significantly reduce final mussel shell height on average by 28% (21.0 mm) over 295 d (Mann-Whitney U = 6.0, p < 0.0001). This study confirms that parasitism of green-lipped mussels by pea crabs has a significant impact on the growth of the mussels and suggests that the incidence of pea crabs will be higher in shallower water and when mussels are in closer proximity to the shore. With no control methods available for preventing pea crab infection, these results suggest that moving mussel farms offshore has the potential to reduce the incidence of pea crabs in mussels and warrants larger-scale assessment.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 01/2015; 112(3):199-205.
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    ABSTRACT: Blue crab diseases, parasites, and commensals are not well studied in the Gulf of Mexico, and their prevalence rates have only been sporadically determined. Commercial soft shell shedding facilities in Louisiana experience high mortality rates of pre-molt crabs, and some of these deaths may be attributable to diseases or parasites. During the active shedding season in 2013, we determined the prevalence of shell disease, Vibrio spp., Lagenophrys callinectes, and Hematodinium perezi at 4 commercial shedding facilities along the Louisiana coast. We also detected Ameson michaelis and reo-like virus infections. Shell disease was moderately prevalent at rates above 50% and varied by shedding facility, collection month, and crab size. Vibrio spp. bacteria were prevalent in the hemolymph of 37% of the pre-molt crabs. Lagenophrys callinectes was highly prevalent in the pre-molt crabs, but because it is a commensal species, it may not cause high mortality rates. Hematodinium perezi was absent in all pre-molt crabs.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 01/2015; 112(3):207-17.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper reports the results of the survey developed after the first detection of protozoan Marteilia sp. infection of the grooved razor shell Solen marginatus (Pulteney, 1799) from Galicia (NW Spain) in 2006. Furthermore, we analysed other parasites and pathological conditions found in grooved razor shell populations throughout this survey, such as metacercariae of trematodes, prokaryotic infections and disseminated neoplasms, some of which could cause moderate or severe damage to the host depending on the intensity of infection. A total of 17 natural beds distributed along the Galician coast were analysed, and Marteilia sp. was detected in 6 of them with low prevalence, moderate intensity and no negative effects over the populations.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 01/2015; 112(3):177-84.
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    ABSTRACT: Chytridiomycosis, the amphibian disease caused by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is fatal to adults of many species. Bd is largely sublethal to amphibian larvae; however, it is known to reduce larval (i.e. tadpole) growth rates, with possible long-term effects on population dynamics and fitness. We conducted an experiment to test how Bd altered southern leopard frog Lithobates sphenocephalus tadpole mouthpart damage, percentage of food ingested, and subsequent body size. We examined our results using path analyses. We hypothesized that Bd would increase mouthpart damage, causing less food to be ingested, and ultimately reduce body size. In our model, both Bd exposure and increased mouthpart damage significantly reduced food ingested and subsequent body size. However, our study provides evidence against the long-standing hypothesis of mouthpart damage as a pathway for Bd-induced reductions in larval group. Here we provide evidence for reduced foraging efficiency (percentage of food ingested) as a mechanism for Bd-induced reductions in body size. This work highlights the importance of studying the sublethal effects of Bd on larval amphibians.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 01/2015; 112(3):237-42.
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    ABSTRACT: Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a major cause of seafood-borne gastroenteritis. The human pathogenic strains possess tdh or trh or both genes. In Thai shrimp farming, the level of pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus contamination has not been completely characterized, although it has been identified as a risk for people who consume undercooked shrimp. In this study, the prevalence and concentration of V. parahaemolyticus (total Vp) and pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus (tdh+ Vp and trh+ Vp) were investigated during shrimp culture cycles using the most probable number (MPN) method and were confirmed by PCR and the loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) techniques. The prevalence and concentration of total Vp were high in broodstock and egg samples at the start of the hatchery cycle, but the organism decreased in the subsequent larval and postlarval stages. In contrast, total Vp was low at the beginning of the pond cycle and dramatically increased during the later stages of culture. Broodstock and fresh feed were important sources of V. parahaemolyticus. Numbers of tdh+ Vp and trh+ Vp detected by the LAMP technique were much greater than those detected by the PCR technique, especially in the late stages of the pond cycle. A direct correlation between total Vp and pathogenic Vp was demonstrated only during the harvest stage. This study will be useful as a guideline to establish levels of V. parahaemolyticus presence which can be considered as safe during shrimp culture. In addition, it could be used to identify the source of V. parahaemolyticus, which has recently been reported to be one of the etiologic agents of acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 12/2014; 112(2):103-11.
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    ABSTRACT: Vibriosis caused by luminous Vibrio harveyi commonly contributes to poor survival in shrimp hatcheries and aquaculture ponds. Lytic bacteriophages pathogenic for V. harveyi are currently being investigated as an alternative to antibiotics to prevent vibriosis. Here, 8 bacteriophages were isolated from oysters and clams using V. harveyi strains as baiting hosts. Among these bacteriophages, 1 strain (VHP6b) identified as broadly pathogenic for 27 V. harveyi strains examined was further characterized by electron microscopy and genome sequence analysis. Phage VHP6b possessed a tail and morphology consistent with it being a member of the family Siphoviridae, and its genome and proteome were most closely related to the Vibrio phages SSP02 and MAR10. An integrase gene essential for lysogeny was not evident. The ability of bacteriophage VHP6b to protect shrimp postlarvae against vibriosis caused by V. harveyi strain VH6 was demonstrated in a model system designed to simulate typical hatchery conditions. Bacteriophage treatment improved survival of postlarvae by 40 to 60% under these conditions, so therapies based on this or other bacteriophages may be useful in shrimp hatcheries.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 12/2014; 112(2):113-9.
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    ABSTRACT: Koi herpesvirus (KHV) disease is a lethal disease in common carp, an important food fish in Asian countries, the seed of which is used in restocking programs for freshwater fishery management. We inspected apparently healthy seed stock of common carp Cyprinus carpio L. and Siberian crucian carp Carassius auratus for the presence of KHV using PCR-based diagnostic tests as a part of a stock enhancement program from 2009 to 2010 in Korea. Consequently, KHV was detected from 24 of 232 inspections with yearly detection percentages of 5.2% in 2009 and 15.5% in 2010 using PCR primer sets for TK or SphI-5 as recommended by the OIE Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals. Results indicate that the SphI-5 primer set was slightly more sensitive than the TK primer set, as shown by a higher detection rate. To determine the genotype of the KHV strains detected in this study, ORF40-specific PCR amplification was conducted, and the PCR products from 6 samples showed 100% nucleotide sequence identity with a Japanese strain (GenBank accession number AP008984) but not with US (DG657948) and Israeli strains (DG177346). This report conclusively demonstrated the presence of KHV in externally healthy seed of common carp and Siberian crucian carp, indicating a possible risk that subclinically infected seed stock can be released with a potential threat to wild populations.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 11/2014; 112(1):29-36.
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    ABSTRACT: The Czech Republic hosts a surprisingly rich biodiversity of amphibians representing the majority of amphibian species present in all of Central and Eastern Europe. Surveillance data of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) collected during 2008 to 2012 were analysed for basic patterns of prevalence and infection intensity among species, age groups and localities. In addition, an investigation was made into possible data bias due to varying PCR inhibition. Infection prevalence in the genus Pelophylax was significantly higher than in other sampled taxa, while Bombina and Bufo were infected with intermediate prevalence. Individual mortalities putatively caused by chytridiomycosis were detected in Bombina and Bufo, but not in Pelophylax. Differences among localities were seen to modulate the pathogen's infection rate and influence overall individual infection intensities. PCR inhibition occurred significantly more often in samples from the genus Pelophylax than in other tested taxa (Bufo bufo, B. viridis, Bombina bombina, Pelobates fuscus and Rana dalmatina). Although we found no completely inhibited samples within the genus Bombina, the infection loads were lower in the sample set processed without bovine serum albumin, suggesting some level of PCR inhibition. The combination of high Bd prevalence with no apparent deleterious effect and the high dispersal abilities of water frogs predispose them to act as vectors for chytridiomycosis. It is possible that the role of Pelophylax frogs in the spread of Bd is overlooked due to a large proportion of unrecognized false negatives, but this issue needs further confirmation.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 11/2014; 112(1):1-8.
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    ABSTRACT: Herpesviruses form a long continuous DNA molecule, or head-to-tail concatemer, as a replicating intermediate in the host. In this study, we developed a DNA-specific PCR assay for detecting the infection stage of koi herpesvirus (KHV) based on the presence of this 'endless' DNA. The 295 kbp double-stranded DNA KHV genome consists of a 251 kbp unique long region and two 22 kbp direct repeats (DRL and DRR) at each genome terminus. We designed a new primer set (DR primer set) based on the DR region spanning the presumed circular or concatemeric junction. Using the DR primer set, a PCR product was obtained from KHV-infected common carp brain (CCB) cells, but not from the virus-infected cell culture supernatant, implying that the PCR assay could detect intracellular virus in the host. The synthesis of a presumptive circular or concatemeric genome in virus-infected CCB cells was examined in a time-course experiment together with viral mRNA of the terminase gene, copy numbers of the viral genome, and infectious viral titer. The mRNA was first detected in the cells at 6 h post-inoculation (hpi), and the copy number of viral genome in the cells started to increase at 12 hpi. Subsequently, circular or concatemeric DNA was detected in the cells at 18 hpi, and progeny virus was detected in the cell culture supernatant at 24 hpi. These findings suggest that detection of the circular or concatemeric KHV genome with the developed PCR method can be used to determine the stage of KHV infection.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 11/2014; 112(1):37-44.
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    ABSTRACT: Perkinsus mediterraneus, a protozoan parasite that can cause perkinsosis (marine mollusc disease), was first detected in oysters Ostrea edulis from Mahon (Minorca, Balearic Islands, Spain) in 2004. Several years later it was also found in Andratx Harbour (Majorca, Balearic Islands) and in the Gulf of Manfredonia (Adriatic coast of Italy) in oyster populations. Since 2007, Perkinsus surveys have been conducted in different localities and shellfish species in the Balearic Archipelago. In the present work, we found P. mediterraneus in the Balearic Islands infecting oyster and other shellfish species. We describe infection with P. mediterraneus for the first time in Arca noae and Mimachlamys varia. The detection was carried out using Ray's fluid thioglycolate medium (RFTM), histology and polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) methodologies. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region (including ITS1, 5.8S and ITS2) of P. mediterraneus ribosomal DNA was sequenced from infected bivalve gills (or from the body in Chamelea gallina) from Balearic Archipelago localities. Twelve haplotypes with a strong genetic similarity between them (97-100%) were observed in our samples. These data were completed with 12 more haplotypes from GenBank sequences. The phylogenetic relationship between Balearic P. mediterraneus haplotypes found in this study, those previously obtained in Mahon Harbour, and the Perkinsus spp. sequences available in GenBank clearly grouped the different Perkinsus spp. in distinct clades supported by strong bootstrap values. Moreover, these analyses detected different P. mediterraneus groups in O. edulis from Minorca Island. No abnormal mortalities or decline in populations were detected during the survey, except for C. gallina, which is also affected by Marteilia refringens.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 11/2014; 112(1):69-82.
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    ABSTRACT: Haplosporidium patagon was found parasitizing Siphonaria lessonii and S. lateralis, 2 siphonariid gastropods co-occurring on the littoral rocky shore at Puerto Deseado, Santa Cruz, Argentina. Gastropods from 2 habitats representing 2 different levels of environmental harshness were studied. In both cases, S. lessonii showed a higher prevalence of infection (3.78%) over the entire 14 mo study period than S. lateralis (0.13%). Very different values of prevalence of infection were observed at the different sampling sites: Site 1, the more restrictive habitat (exposed for long periods to desiccation during low tides, higher ultraviolet exposure, and high ranges of temperature variation) showed a higher prevalence value (5.99%) than Site 2 (1.46%). Statistical differences in prevalence were also found between values corresponding to the austral spring (3.35% at Site 1 and 0.74% at Site 2) and winter (13.79% at Site 1 and 2.13% at Site 2). The presence/absence of H. patagon did not vary significantly with gastropod shell length. Infection affected the digestive gland, whose normal histology was greatly modified. The hermaphroditic gonads were also affected; the female germinal cells disappeared or only a few primary or previtellogenic oocytes were present, and vitellogenesis was inhibited. The function of the male germinal epithelium, as well as spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis processes and associated organs (seminal vesicles and seminal receptacles), were not affected. However, the glandular pallial complex of the reproductive systemwas affected, and we observed a significant reduction in development in parasitized gastropods. H. patagon sporocysts also invaded the supporting connective tissues of both the kidney and pseudobranch.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 11/2014; 112(1):59-67.