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: Fibropapillomatosis is a neoplastic disease that is commonly found in the green turtles Chelonia mydas in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. In the current project, juvenile green turtles were captured with large-mesh tangle nets in the Indian River Lagoon and on nearshore reefs of Indian River County, Florida, USA, in 1998 and 1999. The purpose of the study was to determine the relationship between the severity of the disease and the general health of green turtles as indicated by blood parameters. All turtles were measured and examined, and the overall severity of the disease was rated by the size, number, and location of external fibropapilloma tumors. Hematocrit, total protein, and hemoglobin concentration were measured and compared with tumor scores (tumor severity appraisal). As the tumor score increased, the blood parameters of turtles decreased; for instance, the percentage of decrease in hematocrit for mildly afflicted, moderately afflicted, and severely afflicted groups were 2.6, 18.3, and 45.5%, respectively. Severely afflicted turtles suffered from anemia, while individuals with mild affliction did not.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 08/2014; 111(1):61-68.
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    ABSTRACT: Acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND), which has also been referred to as early mortality syndrome (EMS), initially emerged as a destructive disease of cultured shrimp species in Asia in 2009. The pathogen associated with the disease, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, subsequently spread to the Western Hemisphere and emerged in Mexico in early 2013. The spread to the Western Hemisphere is a major concern to shrimp producers in the region. To date, the only peer-reviewed published method for determining whether mortalities are due to AHPND is through histological examination. A novel PCR detection method was employed to assess samples from Mexico in order to confirm the presence of the pathogen in this country. This manuscript details the detection methods used to confirm the presence of AHPND in Mexico. Both immersion and per os challenge studies were used to expose the Penaeus vannamei to the bacteria in order to induce the disease. Histological analysis confirmed AHPND status following the challenge studies. Also provided are the details of the molecular test by PCR that was used for screening candidate V. parahaemolyticus isolates. A rapid PCR assay for detection of AHPND may help with early detection and help prevent the spread of AHPND to other countries.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 08/2014; 111(1):81-86.
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    ABSTRACT: Eight laboratories worked collectively to evaluate 4 real-time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR) protocols targeting viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) being considered for deployment to a USA laboratory testing network. The protocols utilized previously published primers and probe sets developed for detection and surveillance of VHSV. All participating laboratories received and followed a standard operating protocol for extraction and for each of the rRT-PCR assays. Performance measures specifically evaluated included limit of detection (defined as the smallest amount of analyte in which 95% of the samples are classified as positive), analytical specificity, assay efficiency across genotype representatives, within- and between-plate variation within a laboratory, and variation between laboratories using the same platform, between platforms, and between software versions. This evaluation clearly demonstrated that the TaqMan®-based assay developed by Jonstrup et al. (2013; J Fish Dis 36:9-23) produced the most consistent analytical performance characteristics for detecting all genotypes of VHSV across the 8 participating laboratories.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 08/2014; 111(1):1-13.
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    ABSTRACT: The Type III secretion system (T3SS) is essential for intracellular replication of Edwardsiella tarda in phagocytes of fish and mammals. Two possible effector candidate genes (eseE and eseG) and 7 hypothetical genes (esaB, escC, orf13, orf19, orf26, orf29, and orf30) located in the T3SS gene cluster were inactivated by an allelic exchange method, and we found that E. tarda strains carrying insertion mutations in escC, orf13, orf19, orf29, and orf30 were unable to replicate within J774 macrophages and HEp-2 epithelial cells. Furthermore, the virulence of these mutants to zebrafish was severely attenuated as well. These data suggest that the escC, orf13, orf19, orf29, and orf30 genes are required for intracellular replication and virulence of E. tarda.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 08/2014; 111(1):31-9.
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    ABSTRACT: White spot syndrome virus (WSSV) replicates rapidly, can be extremely pathogenic and is a common cause of mass mortality in cultured shrimp. Variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) sequences present in the open reading frame (ORF)94, ORF125 and ORF75 regions of the WSSV genome have been used widely as genetic markers in epidemiological studies. However, reports that VNTRs might evolve rapidly following even a single transmission through penaeid shrimp or other crustacean hosts have created confusion as to how VNTR data is interpreted. To examine VNTR stability again, 2 WSSV strains (PmTN4RU and LvAP11RU) with differing ORF94 tandem repeat numbers and slight differences in apparent virulence were passaged sequentially 6 times through black tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon, Indian white shrimp Feneropenaeus indicus or Pacific white leg shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei. PCR analyses to genotype the ORF94, ORF125 and ORF75 VNTRs did not identify any differences from either of the 2 parental WSSV strains after multiple passages through any of the shrimp species. These data were confirmed by sequence analysis and indicate that the stability of the genome regions containing these VNTRs is quite high at least for the WSSV strains, hosts and number of passages examined and that the VNTR sequences thus represent useful genetic markers for studying WSSV epidemiology.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 08/2014; 111(1):23-29.
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    ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas fluorescens is a Gram-negative bacterium that can infect a wide range of farmed fish. However, very little is known about the virulence mechanism of P. fluorescens as a fish pathogen. In this study, we identified and analyzed 3 TonB-dependent outer membrane receptors (TDRs) from a pathogenic P. fluorescens strain isolated from fish. In silico analysis revealed that all 3 proteins (named Tdr1 to 3) possess structural domains typical of TDRs. Quantitative real time RT-PCR analysis showed that tdr1, tdr2, and tdr3 expressions were upregulated under iron-depleted conditions. Compared to the wild type, mutants defective in tdr1, tdr2, and tdr3 were retarded in growth to different extents. Infection in a turbot Scophthalmus maximus model showed that all 3 mutants were impaired in their ability to desseminate into and colonize host tissues. In addition, the tdr1 and tdr3 mutants exhibited significantly reduced virulence. When used as subunit vaccines, purified recombinant proteins of Tdr1, Tdr2, and, in particular, Tdr3 elicited significant protection in turbot against lethal P. fluorescens challenge. The vaccinated fish produced specific serum antibodies, which, when incubated with P. fluorescens, blocked infection of P. fluorescens in fish cells. Together these results indicate that Tdr1, Tdr2, and Tdr3 are iron-regulated factors that participate in bacterial virulence and induce protective immunity as subunit vaccines.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 08/2014; 110(3):181-91.
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    ABSTRACT: The tongue-biter cymothoid isopod Ceratothoa cf. imbricata is nearly ubiquitous in buccal cavities of the banded scat Selenotoca multifasciata (Scatophagidae) from Waterloo Bay, south-east Queensland. To test whether infestation affects fish growth or condition significantly, we explored parasitism and condition in 122 S. multifasciata specimens. The internal area of the buccal cavity and that occupied by ovigerous female isopods were measured, allowing the relative proportion of free internal area of the buccal cavity (PFIAO) to be calculated. Of 122 fish, 119 (97.5%) were infected; 35.3% had large female isopods, the remaining infections comprised much smaller mancae, juveniles and adult males. Mean intensity of infection was significantly correlated with fish total length (TL). In some fish, the female isopod occupied up to 80% of the buccal cavity area. There was little evidence of attachment damage in the buccal cavity; only 9 of 43 hosts analysed had restricted damage to the tissues at the points of attachment of the female isopod. Condition factor, food intensity index and stomach weight did not differ between fish with and without female C. cf. imbricata. The relative proportion of free internal area of the buccal cavity with respect to the fish total length (PFIAO/TL2 ratio) of fish infected with females correlated with food intensity and condition factor. Although the correlation was significant, the actual effect was not large because more than 70% of these 2 indices was not explained by the PFIAO/TL2 ratio (r2 < 0.3 in both cases). Despite the dramatic appearance of infestations and the high prevalence of C. cf. imbricata in the population, the near-absence of pathological alterations and the limited effect of the isopod on the condition indices and food intensity suggest that this isopod is relatively benign for S. multifasciata.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 08/2014; 110(3):173-80.
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    ABSTRACT: Early detection of Pacific oyster spat infected with ostreid herpesvirus 1 (OsHV-1) could prevent introduction of OsHV-1-infected individuals into farming areas or onshore rearing facilities, thus reducing the risk of infection of naïve oysters in such production systems. Experiments were conducted on several hundred oyster spat provided by producers in order to examine whether early rearing practices could be considered as potential risk factors for (1) OsHV-1 infection as detected by molecular methods and (2) spat mortality experimentally induced through thermal challenge. Spat groups collected on oyster beds and hatchery spat reared in growout areas during summer exhibited higher viral DNA contamination and mortalities during the trial than spat kept in onshore rearing facilities. Quantification of viral DNA before and during the trial showed that infection prevalence and intensity changed over time and revealed latent infection initially unsuspected in 3 of 10 groups. Thermal challenge induced a clear increase in the probability of detecting infected individuals, particularly for groups exhibiting significant prevalence of OsHV-1-contaminated spat prior to the challenge. The use of detection methods are discussed in relation to early rearing practices and disease control strategies.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 08/2014; 110(3):201-11.
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we examined the influence of water temperature on the development of herpesviral haematopoietic necrosis (HVHN) in goldfish Carassius auratus after experimentally induced infection with cyprinid herpesvirus 2 (CyHV-2). In Expt 1, Ryukin goldfish were infected with CyHV-2 by intraperitoneal injection and maintained at 4 different water temperatures. Cumulative mortalities of the 15, 20, 25 and 30°C groups were 10, 90, 90 and 60%, respectively. Therefore, the temperature range of 20–25°C is considered highly permissive for HVHN. One of 6 surviving fish of the 15°C group died after a rapid temperature increase to 25°C at 30 d post infection (dpi). All 3 Edonishiki goldfish, co-reared with the surviving Ryukin where the water temperature was increased from 15 to 25°C, died. In Expt 2, Edonishiki goldfish were exposed to CyHV-2 by bath immersion at 13 or 24°C, resulting in cumulative mortalities of 0 and 87%, respectively, at 28 d post-exposure. No mortality of the surviving Edonishiki in the 13°C was observed when the water temperature was increased to 24°C. In addition, in Expt 2, no mortality was observed in any Ranchu co-reared with CyHV-2-immersed Edonishiki in the group where water temperature was increased from 13 to 24°C, even after re-immersion challenge with CyHV-2. It is interesting to note that CyHV-2 DNA was detected in the kidneys of 4 of the 5 surviving Ranchu co-reared with the CyHV-2-immersed Edonishiki group where the water temperature was increased from 13 to 24°C. Therefore, it is likely that the surviving Edonishiki of the 13°C group were virus carriers. This study indicates that most fish infected with CyHV-2 at 13–15°C acquire resistance to HVHN, but as carriers they are able to infect naïve fish.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 08/2014; 110:193-200.
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    ABSTRACT: Information on the progression of coral diseases and transmission to live corals is scarce despite the fact that coral disease poses one of the most lethal threats to the survival of coral reefs. In this study, in situ progression rates of lesions similar to black band disease (BBD) and white band disease (WBD) were measured in different species of corals from the Gulf of Mannar (GoM) and Palk Bay, southeastern India, during the period between January and December of 2009. Maximum progression rates of 3 and 1.6 cm mo-1 for BBD and WBD, respectively, were observed during May, when the temperature exceeded 30°C. The annual progression rate was 10.9 and 4.9 cm yr-1 for BBD at GoM and Palk Bay, respectively. Significant variation in the progression rate (p < 0.001) was observed between months in all the examined species. Significant correlation between temperature and disease progression rates for BBD (R2 = 0.875, p ≤ 0.001) and WBD (R2 = 0.776, p ≤ 0.001) was recorded. Rates of disease progression were higher in Palk Bay than in GoM. This could be attributed to the higher temperature coupled with higher anthropogenic activities in Palk Bay. Severe mortality was observed due to both BBD and WBD. No sign of recovery was noticed in the disease-affected colonies at either study site. Anthropogenic activities should be checked, and further research on both the transmission and progression rate and role of the diseases in reef dynamics should be carried out to understand the causal factors in reef degradation and generate a plan to manage the reef properly.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 08/2014; 110(3):227-34.
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    ABSTRACT: Previously reported in Australia, New Zealand, and more recently in Europe, the protistan parasite Bonamia exitiosa was also reported in the mid-Atlantic region of the USA after causing serious mortalities there in the Asian oyster Crassostrea ariakensis. At the time, this oyster was being considered for introduction, and the potential consequences of introducing this species were being assessed using field and laboratory studies. B. exitiosa emerged as the most serious disease threat for this oyster species, especially under warm euhaline conditions and for oysters <50 mm in size. To better evaluate how quickly this parasite may be able to spread among C. ariakensis, we investigated B. exitiosa transmission and incidence in C. ariakensis. During a first trial, potential direct transmission of B. exitiosa was evaluated by cohabitating infected C. ariakensis with uninfected C. ariakensis under in vivo quarantine conditions. In a second experiment, B. exitiosa incidence was estimated in situ by determining its prevalence in C. ariakensis deployed in an enzootic area after 4, 7, 14, 21 and 28 d of exposure. Results suggest that under warm euhaline conditions B. exitiosa can be transmitted among C. ariakensis without requiring any other parasite source and that parasite incidence may be at least as high as 40% after only 4 d exposure to an enzootic area. These results underscored the severity of the bonamiasis disease threat to C. ariakensis and provided further evidence that efforts to build an aquaculture industry based on C. ariakensis in the eastern USA might have been thwarted by parasitic disease.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 07/2014; 110(1):143-50.
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    ABSTRACT: The name 'microcells' is frequently used to refer to small-sized unicellular stages of molluscan parasites of the genera Bonamia (Rhizaria, Haplosporidia) and Mikrocytos (Rhizaria). Histological examination of Manila clams Ruditapes philippinarum revealed microcells in the connective tissue of adductor muscle, foot, mantle, gills, siphon and visceral mass. The clams had been collected from 4 beds on the coast of Galicia, Spain. The prevalence of these microcells ranged from 73 to 93% in surface clams and from 3 to 33% in buried clams. However, the detection of brown ring disease signs in clams from every bed prevented us from making the assumption that the microcells alone were responsible for clam mortality. PCR assays using primer pairs designed to detect Bonamia spp. and haplosporidians gave negative results, whereas positive results were obtained with primers for the genus Mikrocytos. A consensus sequence of 1670 bp of the ribosomal gene complex of the microcells was obtained. It contained a section of the 18S region, the whole first internal transcribed spacer, the 5.8S region, the second internal transcribed spacer and a section of the 28S region. Comparison of this sequence with those of M. mackini infecting Crassostrea gigas and Mikrocytos sp. infecting Ostrea edulis showed that the microcells of Galician clams were the most divergent among the compared parasites. This is the first report of a Mikrocytos-like parasite infecting Manila clams. Care must be taken to avoid the spread of this parasite through Manila clam transfers.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 07/2014; 110(1-2):71-79.
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    ABSTRACT: The genus Mikrocytos is traditionally known for Mikrocytos mackini, the microcell parasite that typically infects Pacific oysters along the west coast of North America. Multiple factors have conspired to create difficulty for scientific research on Mikrocytos parasites. These include their tiny cell size, infections that are often of light intensity, lack of suitable cell lines and techniques for in vitro culture, and the seasonal nature of infections. The extreme rate of molecular evolution in Mikrocytos stymied new species discovery and confounded attempts to resolve its phylogenetic position for many years. Fortunately, 2 recent landmark studies have paved the way forward for future research by drastically changing our understanding of the evolution and diversity of these parasites. No longer an orphan eukaryotic lineage, the phylogenetic placement of Mikrocytos has been confidently resolved within Rhizaria and as sister taxon to Haplosporidia. The genus has also found a taxonomic home within the newly-discovered order, Mikrocytida - a globally distributed lineage of parasites infecting a wide range of invertebrate hosts. Here we review available scientific information on Mikrocytos parasites including their evolution and diversity, host and geographic ranges, epizootiology, and detection of the regulated pathogen, M. mackini. We also make recommendations towards a consistent taxonomic framework for this genus by minimally suggesting the use of 18S rDNA sequence, host species information, and histopathological presentation in new species descriptions. This is timely given that we are likely embarking on a new era of scientific advancements, including species discovery, in this genus and its relatives.
    Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 07/2014; 110(1):25-32.

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