Piscirickettsia salmonis shedding and tissue burden, and hematological responses during cohabitation infections in chum Oncorhynchus keta, pink O. gorbuscha and Atlantic salmon Salmo salar
Long, A.; Jones, S.R.M.
Plos one 16(3): E0248098
ISSN/ISBN: 1932-6203 PMID: 33667267 Accession: 072322012
Salmonid rickettsial septicemia is an emergent and geographically widespread disease of marine-farmed salmonids caused by infection with the water-borne bacterium Piscirickettsia salmonis. Very little is known about the route, timing, or magnitude of bacterial shedding from infected fish. A cohabitation challenge model was used to assess shedding from chum Oncorhynchus keta, pink O. gorbuscha and Atlantic salmon Salmo salar. Infections in donor fish were established by intraperitoneal injection of P. salmonis. Naïve recipients were cohabitated with donor fish after which cumulative percent morbidity and mortality (CMM) was monitored, and bacterial burdens in kidney and in tank water were measured by qPCR. All donor fish died with mean days-to-death (MDD) among species ranging from 17.5 to 23.9. Among recipients, CMM ranged from 42.7% to 77.8% and MDD ranged from 49.7 to 56.4. In each trial, two peaks of bacterial DNA concentrations in tank water closely aligned with the MDD values of donor and recipient fish. Bacterial tissue burden and shedding rate, and plasma physiological parameters were obtained from individual donors and recipients. Statistically significant positive correlations between the shedding rate and P. salmonis kidney burden were measured in donor pink and in donor and recipient chum salmon, but not in donor or recipient Atlantic salmon. In Atlantic salmon, there was a negative correlation between kidney bacterial burden and hematocrit, plasma Ca++ and Mg++ values, whereas in infected chum salmon the correlation was positive for Na+ and Cl- and negative for glucose. A dependency of bacterial shedding on species-specific patterns of pathogenesis was suggested. The coincidence of bacterial shedding with mortality will inform pathogen transmission models.