The pathology of Flexibacter maritimus in aquaculture species in Tasmania, Australia

Handlinger, J.; Soltani, M.; Percival, S.

Journal of Fish Diseases 20(3): 159-168


ISSN/ISBN: 0140-7775
DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2761.1997.00288.x
Accession: 002991273

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Macroscopic and microscopic features of natural and experimental Flexibacter maritimus infection, and epidemiological aspects of the disease, have been reported in a number of species of fish in Tasmanian aquaculture including Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum), greenback flounder, Rhombosolea tapirina Gunther, and striped trumpeter, Latris lineata (Bloch and Schneider). There is a great deal of consistency in the pathology in salmonids and non-salmonid species, with erosive lesions of external surfaces being the most prominent clinical sign. Experimentally induced disease of salmonids and flounder is similar to natural infection. Mature lesions show dermal and gill erosion, with dermal bacterial invasion into the dense connective tissue and occasionally underlying musculature, but a remarkable lack of inflammatory response. The earliest lesions show consistent fragmentation and degeneration of the epithelium, with infiltration of amorphous protein-like materials and occasionally intra-epithelial cellular inflammatory cells, plus congestion and haemorrhage of the superficial dermis, but without visible bacteria in standard sections. Variable scale loss, oedema and a low level of inflammation in scale pockets, plus variable small adherent bacterial mats, are evident before full epithelial erosion.