Publications by authors named "Cynthia Ware"

18 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Genetic characterization of heterologous Edwardsiella piscicida isolates from diverse fish hosts and virulence assessment in a Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha model.

J Fish Dis 2021 Dec 4;44(12):1959-1970. Epub 2021 Sep 4.

Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, California, USA.

Edwardsiella piscicida is an emergent global fish pathogen with a wide host range, although host associations driving genetic diversity remain unclear. This study investigated the genetic and virulence diversity of 37 E. piscicida isolates recovered from 10 fish species in North America. Multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) was conducted using concatenated alignments of the gyrB, pgi and phoU sequences. MLSA clustered the tested isolates into six discrete clades. In light of recent disease outbreaks in cultured salmonids, the virulence of each clade was evaluated in Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha fingerlings following intracoelomic challenge of ~10  CFU/fish. Challenged and control fish were monitored for 21d, and microbiological and histological examination was performed on dead and surviving fish. Peak mortality occurred 3-5 days post-challenge (dpc) regardless of isolate or genetic group. Edwardsiella piscicida was recovered from all moribund and dead animals. At 21 dpc, fish challenged with isolates from clades II, III and IV presented cumulative mortality ≥83.3%, whereas isolates from clade I, V and VI resulted in cumulative mortality ≤71.4%. This study suggests an underlying genetic basis for strain virulence and potential host associations. Further investigations using other fish models and variable challenge conditions are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jfd.13509DOI Listing
December 2021

Genetic variability of Edwardsiella piscicida isolates from Mississippi catfish aquaculture with an assessment of virulence in channel and channel × blue hybrid catfish.

J Fish Dis 2021 Nov 12;44(11):1725-1751. Epub 2021 Jul 12.

Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, College of Forest Resources, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS, USA.

The bacterium Edwardsiella piscicida causes significant losses in global aquaculture, particularly channel (Ictalurus punctatus) × blue (I. furcatus) hybrid catfish cultured in the south-eastern United States. Emergence of E. piscicida in hybrid catfish is worrisome given current industry trends towards increased hybrid production. The project objectives were to assess intraspecific genetic variability of E. piscicida isolates recovered from diseased channel and hybrid catfish in Mississippi; and determine virulence associations among genetic variants. Repetitive extragenic palindromic sequence-based PCR (rep-PCR) using ERIC I and II primers was used to screen 158 E. piscicida diagnostic case isolates. A subsample of 39 E. piscicida isolates, representing predominant rep-PCR profiles, was further characterized using BOX and (GTG) rep-PCR primers, virulence gene assessment and multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) targeting housekeeping genes gyrb, pgi and phoU. The MLSA provided greater resolution than rep-PCR, revealing 5 discrete phylogroups that correlated similarly with virulence gene profiles. Virulence assessments using E. piscicida representatives from each MLSA group resulted in 14-day cumulative mortality ranging from 22% to 54% and 63 to 72% in channel and hybrid fingerlings, respectively. Across all phylogroups, mortality was higher in hybrid catfish (p < .05), supporting previous work indicating E. piscicida is an emerging threat to hybrid catfish aquaculture in the south-eastern United States.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jfd.13491DOI Listing
November 2021

Mycobacterium salmoniphilum and M. chelonae in Captive Populations of Chinook Salmon.

J Aquat Anim Health 2021 06 29;33(2):107-115. Epub 2021 Mar 29.

Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, 2108 Tupper Hall, Davis, California, 95616-5270, USA.

Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha is a keystone fish species in the Pacific Northwest. In 2019, unusual mortalities occurred in two different populations of cultured fingerlings from the same facility in California, USA. The systems consist of outdoor, enclosed, flow-through freshwater tanks that are maintained at 18 ± 1°C. Clinical signs and gross findings were only observed in one population and included abnormal swimming, inappetence, lethargy, skin discoloration, and the presence of multifocal nodular and ulcerative skin lesions. Microscopic lesions were infrequent and consisted of severe, locally extensive granulomatous dermatitis and myositis and mild, multifocal, granulomatous branchitis, myocarditis, and hepatitis. Intracellular acid-fast organisms were observed within areas of granulomatous myositis. Posterior kidney swabs were collected and inoculated in nutrient-rich and selective agar media and incubated at 25°C for 2 weeks. Visibly pure bacterial colonies were observed 7-10 d postinoculation. Partial sequences of 16S rRNA initially identified the recovered bacteria as members of the genus Mycobacterium. However, marked variability was observed among Mycobacterium spp. isolates by using repetitive extragenic palindromic polymerase chain reaction fingerprinting. Amplification and sequencing of the ribosomal RNA internal transcribed spacer, 65-kDa heat shock protein, and RNA polymerase β-subunit gene of the cultured isolates identified M. salmoniphilum and M. chelonae, discrete members of the M. chelonae-abscessus complex, isolated from diseased Chinook Salmon fingerlings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aah.10124DOI Listing
June 2021

Recovery and confirmation of Edwardsiella piscicida from a black crappie Pomoxis nigromaculatus (Lesueur, 1829).

J Fish Dis 2019 10 15;42(10):1457-1461. Epub 2019 Jul 15.

Fishhead Labs, LLC, Stuart, Florida.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jfd.13056DOI Listing
October 2019

Arrested Development of Henneguya ictaluri (Cnidaria: Myxobolidae) in ♀ Channel Catfish × ♂ Blue Catfish Hybrids.

J Aquat Anim Health 2019 06 3;31(2):201-213. Epub 2019 Jun 3.

Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi, 39762, USA.

Henneguya ictaluri is the etiologic agent of proliferative gill disease (PGD) in farm-raised Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus and hybrid catfish in the southeastern United States, and significant annual losses are attributed to this disease. Research suggests that H. ictaluri infection dynamics in Blue Catfish I. furcatus and hybrid catfish (Channel Catfish × Blue Catfish) differ from those in Channel Catfish. Two separate infectivity trials were conducted to investigate H. ictaluri development in Channel Catfish, Blue Catfish, and their hybrids. On two separate occasions with two different year-classes, fish were exposed to pond water containing H. ictaluri actinospores and sampled weekly for 12 weeks (trial 1) or 14 weeks (trial 2). In trial 1, the presence of H. ictaluri was evaluated histologically and by quantitative PCR of fish tissues, including gills, blood, anterior kidney, brain, heart, liver, posterior kidney, spleen, and stomach. Henneguya ictaluri DNA was detected in significantly higher concentrations throughout multiple organ systems in the Channel Catfish compared to the hybrid catfish and Blue Catfish, with the gills having higher quantities. Myxospores were observed in Channel Catfish gill tissue at 8 weeks postexposure. No myxospores were observed in Blue Catfish or hybrid catfish. The second trial focused on gills only and yielded similar results, with Channel Catfish having significantly greater H. ictaluri DNA quantities than hybrids or Blue Catfish across all time points. Myxospores were observed in Channel Catfish beginning at 6 weeks postexposure and were found in 36% (58/162) of Channel Catfish sampled for molecular and histological analysis during weeks 6-14. Myxospores in hybrid catfish were sparse, with single pseudocysts observed in two hybrid catfish (1.2%) at 14 weeks postexposure. These results imply arrested development of H. ictaluri in hybrid catfish. As such, culture of hybrid catfish may be an effective management strategy to minimize the burden of PGD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aah.10070DOI Listing
June 2019

Francisella marina sp. nov., Etiologic Agent of Systemic Disease in Cultured Spotted Rose Snapper (Lutjanus guttatus) in Central America.

Appl Environ Microbiol 2018 08 1;84(16). Epub 2018 Aug 1.

Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA.

Historically, piscine francisellosis in various warm-, temperate-, and cold-water fish hosts has been attributed to From 2015 to 2016, an undescribed sp. was recovered during mortality events in cultured spotted rose snapper () off the Pacific coast of Central America. Despite high mortality and emaciation, limited gross findings were observed in affected fish. Histological examination revealed multifocal granulomatous lesions, with the presence of numerous small, pleomorphic coccobacilli, predominantly in the peritoneum, spleen, kidneys, liver, pancreas, heart, and intestine. Sequencing of an ∼1,400-bp fragment of the 16S rRNA gene demonstrated these isolates to be most similar (99.9% identity) to sp. isolate TX077308 cultured from seawater in the Gulf of Mexico, while sharing <99% similarity to other spp. Biochemical analysis, multilocus sequence comparisons of select housekeeping genes, repetitive extragenic palindromic PCR fingerprinting, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry, and fatty acid methyl ester analysis revealed marked differences between these isolates and other described members of the genus. Koch's postulates were fulfilled by experimental intracoelomic injection and immersion trials using Nile () and blue () tilapia. Based on observed phenotypic and genotypic differences from recognized spp., the name sp. nov. (NRRL B-65518) is proposed to accommodate these novel strains. Finfish aquaculture is the fastest growing global food production sector. Infectious disease, particularly emergent pathogens, pose a significant threat to established and nascent aquaculture industries worldwide. Herein, we characterize a novel pathogen isolated from mortality events in cultured spotted rose snapper in Central America. The bacteria recovered from these outbreaks were genetically and phenotypically dissimilar from other known spp. from fish, representing a previously unrecognized member of the genus , for which the name sp. nov. is proposed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.00144-18DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6070750PMC
August 2018

Comparative Phenotypic and Genotypic Analysis of Edwardsiella Isolates from Different Hosts and Geographic Origins, with Emphasis on Isolates Formerly Classified as E. tarda, and Evaluation of Diagnostic Methods.

J Clin Microbiol 2017 12 4;55(12):3466-3491. Epub 2017 Oct 4.

Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center, Stoneville, Mississippi, USA

spp. are responsible for significant losses in important wild and cultured fish species worldwide. Recent phylogenomic investigations have determined that bacteria historically classified as actually represent three genetically distinct yet phenotypically ambiguous taxa with various degrees of pathogenicity in different hosts. Previous recognition of these taxa was hampered by the lack of a distinguishing phenotypic character. Commercial test panel configurations are relatively constant over time, and as new species are defined, appropriate discriminatory tests may not be present in current test panel arrangements. While phenobiochemical tests fail to discriminate between these taxa, data presented here revealed discriminatory peaks for each species using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) methodology, suggesting that MALDI-TOF can offer rapid, reliable identification in line with current systematic classifications. Furthermore, a multiplex PCR assay was validated for rapid molecular differentiation of the spp. affecting fish. Moreover, the limitations of relying on partial 16S rRNA for discrimination of spp. and advantages of employing alternative single-copy genes and for molecular identification and classification of were demonstrated. Last, sequencing confirmed that isolates previously defined as typical motile fish-pathogenic are synonymous with , while atypical nonmotile fish-pathogenic isolates are equivalent to Fish-nonpathogenic isolates are consistent with as it is currently defined. These analyses help deconvolute the scientific literature regarding these organisms and provide baseline information to better facilitate proper taxonomic assignment and minimize erroneous identifications of isolates in clinical and research settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JCM.00970-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5703813PMC
December 2017

Histologic and molecular characterization of Edwardsiella piscicida infection in largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides).

J Vet Diagn Invest 2016 May 7;28(3):338-44. Epub 2016 Mar 7.

Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA (Fogelson)North Florida Aquatic Veterinary Services, Fort White, FL (Petty)Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center, Aquatic Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University, Stoneville, MS (Reichley, Ware, Griffin)Aquatic Animal Health Program, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (Bowser, Getchell, Sams, Marquis)IDEXX BioResearch, Columbia, MO (Crim)Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO (Crim).

The genus Edwardsiella is composed of a diverse group of facultative anaerobic, gram-negative bacteria that can produce disease in a wide variety of hosts, including birds, reptiles, mammals, and fish. Our report describes the isolation and identification of Edwardsiella piscicida associated with chronic mortality events in 2 separate captive largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) populations in New York and Florida. Wet-mount biopsies of skin mucus, gill, kidney, and spleen from several affected largemouth bass contained significant numbers of motile bacteria. Histologic examination revealed multifocal areas of necrosis scattered throughout the heart, liver, anterior kidney, posterior kidney, and spleen. Many of the necrotic foci were encapsulated or replaced by discrete granulomas and associated with colonies of gram-negative bacteria. Initial phenotypic and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometric analysis against existing spectral databases of recovered isolates identified these bacteria as Edwardsiella tarda Subsequent molecular analysis using repetitive sequence mediated and species-specific PCR, as well as 16S rRNA, rpoB, and gyrB sequences, classified these isolates as E. piscicida As a newly designated taxon, E. piscicida should be considered as a differential for multiorgan necrosis and granulomas in largemouth bass.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1040638716637639DOI Listing
May 2016

Biomphalaria straminea (Mollusca: Planorbidae) as an intermediate host of Drepanocephalus spp. (Trematoda: Echinostomatidae) in Brazil: a morphological and molecular study.

Parasitol Res 2016 Jan 19;115(1):51-62. Epub 2015 May 19.

Laboratório de Taxonomia e Biologia de Invertebrados, Departamento de Parasitologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, C.P. 486, 30123-970.

Species of trematodes belonging to the genus Drepanocephalus are intestinal parasites of piscivorous birds, primarily cormorants (Phalachrocorax spp.), and are widely reported in the Americas. During a 4-year malacological study conducted on an urban lake in Brazil, 27-collar-spined echinostome cercariae were found in 1665/15,459 (10.7 %) specimens of Biomphalaria straminea collected. The cercariae were identified as Drepanocephalus spp. by sequencing the 18S (SSU) rDNA, ITS1/5.8S rDNA/ITS2 (ITS), 28S (LSU) rDNA region, cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (CO1), and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase subunit 1 (ND1) markers. In experimental life cycle studies, metacercariae developed in laboratory-reared guppies (Poecilia reticulata); however, attempts to infect birds and rodents were unsuccessful. Two closely related morphotypes of cercariae were characterized. One species, identified by molecular markers as a genetic variant of Drepanocephalus auritus (99.9 % similarity at SSU, ITS, LSU; 97.2 % at CO1; 95.8 % at ND1), differs slightly from an archived North American isolate of this species also sequenced as part of this study. A second species, putatively identified as Drepanocephalus sp., has smaller cercariae and demonstrates significant differences from D. auritus at the CO1 (11.0 %) and ND1 (13.6 %) markers. Aspects related to the morphological taxonomic identification of 27-collar-spined echinostome metacercariae are briefly discussed. This is the first report of the involvement of molluscs of the genus Biomphalaria in the transmission of Drepanocephalus and the first report of D. auritus in South America.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00436-015-4469-0DOI Listing
January 2016

Real-time polymerase chain reaction assays for the detection and quantification of Edwardsiella tarda, Edwardsiella piscicida, and Edwardsiella piscicida-like species in catfish tissues and pond water.

J Vet Diagn Invest 2015 Mar 22;27(2):130-9. Epub 2015 Jan 22.

Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center, Aquatic Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine (Reichley, Ware, Griffin), Mississippi State University, Stoneville, MSThad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center, Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station (Greenway and Wise), Mississippi State University, Stoneville, MS

Researchers have proposed the adoption of 3 distinct genetic taxa among bacteria previously classified as Edwardsiella tarda; namely E. tarda, E. piscicida, and a taxon presently termed E. piscicida-like. Individual real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays were developed, based on published primers, for E. tarda, E. piscicida, and E. piscicida-like sp. to provide rapid quantitative confirmatory tests for these phenotypically ambiguous bacteria. The qPCR assays were shown to be repeatable and reproducible, with high degrees of sensitivity and specificity. Each assay showed a linear dynamic range covering 8 orders of magnitude and a sensitivity limit of 5 copies of target DNA in a 15-µL reaction. In addition, each assay was found specific to their respective targets with no observed amplification from nontarget organisms, including the closely related E. ictaluri and E. hoshinae. Under the conditions used in this study, the 3 assays had a quantifiable limit ranging from 10(3) (E. piscicida) to 10(2) (E. piscicida-like and E. tarda) colony forming units in kidney tissue biopsies (approximately 25 mg), pond water samples (35 mL), and broth culture (20 μL). In experimental challenges, the assays were able to detect their respective targets in both clinically and subclinically infected channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) fingerlings. In addition to quantifying target bacteria from various substrates, the assays provide rapid identification, differentiation, and confirmation of the phenotypically indistinguishable E. tarda, E. piscicida, and E. piscicida-like sp., a valuable tool for diagnostic assessments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1040638714566672DOI Listing
March 2015

Phenotypic and genotypic heterogeneity among Streptococcus iniae isolates recovered from cultured and wild fish in North America, Central America and the Caribbean islands.

J Aquat Anim Health 2014 Dec;26(4):263-71

a Center for Conservation Medicine and Ecosystem , Ross University , Main Island Road. West Farm, St. Kitts , West Indies .

Streptococcus iniae, the etiological agent of streptococcosis in fish, is an important pathogen of cultured and wild fish worldwide. During the last decade outbreaks of streptococcosis have occurred in a wide range of cultured and wild fish in the Americas and Caribbean islands. To gain a better understanding of the epizootiology of S. iniae in the western hemisphere, over 30 S. iniae isolates recovered from different fish species and geographic locations were characterized phenotypically and genetically. Species identities were determined biochemically and confirmed by amplification and sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Repetitive-element palindromic PCR fingerprinting as well as biochemical and antimicrobial susceptibility profiles suggest that a single strain of S. iniae was responsible for two different disease outbreaks among reef fishes in the Caribbean, one in 1999 and another in 2008. Interestingly, a majority of the isolates recovered from cultured fish in the Americas were genetically distinct from the Caribbean isolates and exhibited a trend toward higher minimal inhibitory concentration with respect to several antibiotics as well as greater genetic variability. The biological significance of this genetic variability is unclear, but it could have implications for future vaccine development and treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08997659.2014.945048DOI Listing
December 2014

Chronic pathology and longevity of Drepanocephalus spathans infections in juvenile Channel Catfish.

J Aquat Anim Health 2014 Dec;26(4):210-8

a Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center, Aquatic Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University, Post Office Box 197 , Stoneville , Mississippi 38776 , USA.

Drepanocephalus spathans (Digenea: Echinostomatidae) is a common parasite of the double-crested cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus. The cercariae of D. spathans have been shown infective to juvenile Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus. The developing metacercariae concentrate in the cranial regions, often occluding blood vessels at the base of the branchial arch, occasionally resulting in death. The purpose of this study was to determine how long metacercariae of D. spathans persist in experimentally challenged Channel Catfish. Two separate infectivity trials were conducted. In both trials, metacercariae persisted at least 49 d postinfection, although prevalence and intensity of infection decreased over time. In the first trial, juvenile catfish (1-3 g) were exposed over three consecutive days to 100, 100, and 80 cercariae/fish/d, respectively. Fish were sampled 7 d after the final exposure, and metacercariae were observed in 83.3% (five of six) of challenged fish. At 21 d postexposure, metacercariae were present in only 50% of exposed fish (three of six). No metacercaria were observed in fish sampled at 35 d, however, metacercariae were present in one of six (16.7%) fish sampled 49 and 70 d postexposure, respectively. A second challenge consisted of a 24-h pooled exposure of 500 cercariae per fish. Again, metacercariae were present in most (six of seven; 85.7%) fish at 7 d postexposure. At 21 d postexposure, metacercariae were only evident in one of seven (14.3%) sampled fish. No metacercariae were present in any fish at 35 d postchallenge, yet one of seven (14.3%) fish was positive at 49 d postchallenge. The second study was terminated at 63 d postchallenge, as all fish sampled (n = 14) were negative for metacercariae. These data suggest that cercariae of D. spathans are infective to juvenile Channel Catfish, although the infection appears short lived as metacercariae rarely persisted longer than 2 months.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08997659.2014.938869DOI Listing
December 2014

Comparative susceptibility of Channel Catfish, Blue Catfish, and their hybrid cross to experimental challenge with Bolbophorus damnificus (Digenea: Bolbophoridae) cercariae.

J Aquat Anim Health 2014 Jun;26(2):96-9

a Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center, Aquatic Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine , Mississippi State University, 127 Experiment Station Road , Stoneville , Mississippi 38776 , USA.

The digenetic trematode Bolbophorus damnificus has been implicated in significant losses in catfish aquaculture since the late 1990s. The complex life cycle sequentially involves the American white pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, the marsh rams horn snail Planorbella trivolvis, and Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus. Research supports anecdotal reports from the industry, suggesting that the hybrid of Channel Catfish×Blue Catfish I. furcatus is less susceptible to disease agents that have been historically prohibitive to Channel Catfish production, namely the gram-negative bacteria Edwardsiella ictaluri and Flavobacterium columnare, as well as the myxozoan parasite Henneguya ictaluri. This current research compared the susceptibility of Channel Catfish, Blue Catfish, and their hybrid cross to an experimental challenge by B. damnificus. Fish were exposed to 0, 100, 200, and 400 B. damnificus cercariae per fish, and the numbers of metacercariae per fish were determined 14 d postchallenge. Metacercariae were recovered from all challenged fish. There were no significant differences among fish groups challenged with the same dose, suggesting Channel and Blue Catfish and their hybrid are comparably susceptible to B. damnificus infection. As such, it is recommended that producers raising hybrid catfish remain diligent in controlling populations of the snail intermediate host to prevent production losses attributed to B. damnificus, especially when loafing pelicans have been observed at the aquaculture operation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08997659.2014.886636DOI Listing
June 2014

Edwardsiella piscicida identified in the Southeastern USA by gyrB sequence, species-specific and repetitive sequence-mediated PCR.

Dis Aquat Organ 2014 Feb;108(1):23-35

Aquatic Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University, PO Box 197, 127 Experiment Station Road, Stoneville, Mississippi 38776, USA.

A new Edwardsiella taxon was recently described from fishes of Europe and Asia. Phenotypically similar to E. tarda, extensive genetic and phenotypic characterization determined this new strain does not belong to any established Edwardsiella taxa, leading to the adoption of a new taxon, E. piscicida. Concurrent research in the USA also identified 2 genetically distinct taxa within the group of organisms traditionally classified as E. tarda. Comparisons of gyrB sequences between US isolates and E. piscicida from Europe and Asia identified several US isolates with >99.6% similarity to the gyrB sequence of the E. piscicida type strain (ET883) but <87% similarity to the E. tarda type strain (ATCC #15947). A discriminatory PCR was developed for the identification of E. tarda and 2 genetic variants of E. piscicida (E. piscicida and E. piscicida-like species). Using these PCR assays, a survey was conducted of 44 archived bacterial specimens from disease case submissions to the Aquatic Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (Stoneville, MS, USA) between 2007 and 2012. All 44 isolates, originally identified phenotypically and biochemically as E. tarda, were identified as E. piscicida by PCR. Repetitive sequence-mediated PCR (rep-PCR) analysis of these archived specimens suggests they are largely homogenous, similar to what has been observed for E. ictaluri. The gyrB sequence data, coupled with the E. piscicida specific-PCR and rep-PCR data, confirms that E. piscicida has been isolated from fish disease cases in the southeastern USA. Moreover, our survey data suggests E. piscicida may be more prevalent in catfish aquaculture than E. tarda.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/dao02687DOI Listing
February 2014

Kudoa thunni from blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus) harvested off the island of St. Kitts, West Indies.

J Parasitol 2014 Feb 28;100(1):110-6. Epub 2013 Aug 28.

Department of Pathology and Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University, Stoneville, Mississippi 38776.

Numerous myxozoan cysts (∼ 1 mm) were found in the musculature of blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus) harvested off the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. Myxospores were consistent with quadrate members of the Kudoidae, measuring 8.8 (8.2-9.4) μm wide, 7.3 (6.6-8.3) μm thick, and 6.2 (5.8-6.9) μm long with 4 uniform drop-like polar capsules measuring 2.7 (2.2-3.2) μm long and 2.0 (1.7-2.2) μm wide. The 18S small-subunit (SSU) and 28S large-subunit (LSU) ribosomal DNA sequences did not result in direct matches to any published sequences. However, the SSU sequences (1,786 base pairs [bp]) obtained from 6 individual cysts were identical and demonstrated high homology to Kudoa thunni (99.0%) from albacore (Thunnus alalunga). Alternatively, 33 unique sequences were obtained for the LSU (∼ 800 bp), demonstrating 0.1 to 5.0% variability between them, although a majority of these sequences (60%) demonstrated high homology (>99%) to K. thunni. Morphologically, the case isolate was smaller than published descriptions of K. thunni; however, rDNA sequence homology, and phylogenetic placement based on concatenated SSU and LSU rDNA sequences suggests this case isolate and K. thunni are conspecific. To our knowledge this is the first report of K. thunni infection in blackfin tuna from the Caribbean.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1645/12-142.1DOI Listing
February 2014

Rapid quantitative detection of Aeromonas hydrophila strains associated with disease outbreaks in catfish aquaculture.

J Vet Diagn Invest 2013 Jul;25(4):473-81

Aquatic Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University, Stoneville, MS, USA.

A new strain of Aeromonas hydrophila has been implicated in significant losses in farm-raised catfish. Outbreaks attributable to this new strain began in Alabama in the summer of 2009 and have spread to Arkansas and Mississippi in subsequent years. These outbreaks mostly afflicted market-sized fish and resulted in considerable losses in short periods of time. The present research was designed to develop an expeditious diagnostic procedure to detect the new strains of A. hydrophila due to the rapid onset and biosecurity concerns associated with this new disease. A discriminatory quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay was developed using gene sequences unique to the virulent strains identified in a related comparative genomic study. Using this assay, suspect colonies on a culture plate can be positively identified as the new strain within 2 hr. The assay is repeatable and reproducible with a linear dynamic range covering 8 orders of magnitude and a sensitivity of approximately 7 copies of target DNA in a 15-µl reaction. In addition, the assay is able to detect and quantify the virulent strain from catfish tissues (0.025 g), pond water (40 ml), and sediments (0.25 g) with a sensitivity limit of approximately 100 bacteria in a sample. This assay provides rapid discrimination between the new virulent strain and more common A. hydrophila and is useful for epidemiological studies involving the detection and quantification of the virulent strain in environmental samples and fish tissues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1040638713494210DOI Listing
July 2013

Comparative analysis of Edwardsiella isolates from fish in the eastern United States identifies two distinct genetic taxa amongst organisms phenotypically classified as E. tarda.

Vet Microbiol 2013 Aug 9;165(3-4):358-72. Epub 2013 Apr 9.

Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University, Stoneville, MS 38776, USA.

Edwardsiella tarda, a Gram-negative member of the family Enterobacteriaceae, has been implicated in significant losses in aquaculture facilities worldwide. Here, we assessed the intra-specific variability of E. tarda isolates from 4 different fish species in the eastern United States. Repetitive sequence mediated PCR (rep-PCR) using 4 different primer sets (ERIC I & II, ERIC II, BOX, and GTG5) and multi-locus sequence analysis of 16S SSU rDNA, groEl, gyrA, gyrB, pho, pgi, pgm, and rpoA gene fragments identified two distinct genotypes of E. tarda (DNA group I; DNA group II). Isolates that fell into DNA group II demonstrated more similarity to E. ictaluri than DNA group I, which contained the reference E. tarda strain (ATCC #15947). Conventional PCR analysis using published E. tarda-specific primer sets yielded variable results, with several primer sets producing no observable amplification of target DNA from some isolates. Fluorometric determination of G+C content demonstrated 56.4% G+C content for DNA group I, 60.2% for DNA group II, and 58.4% for E. ictaluri. Surprisingly, these isolates were indistinguishable using conventional biochemical techniques, with all isolates demonstrating phenotypic characteristics consistent with E. tarda. Analysis using two commercial test kits identified multiple phenotypes, although no single metabolic characteristic could reliably discriminate between genetic groups. Additionally, anti-microbial susceptibility and fatty acid profiles did not demonstrate remarkable differences between groups. The significant genetic variation (<90% similarity at gyrA, gyrB, pho, phi and pgm; <40% similarity by rep-PCR) between these groups suggests organisms from DNA group II may represent an unrecognized, genetically distinct taxa of Edwardsiella that is phenotypically indistinguishable from E. tarda.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2013.03.027DOI Listing
August 2013

Culture of Piscirickettsia salmonis on enriched blood agar.

J Vet Diagn Invest 2008 Mar;20(2):213-4

Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center, Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University, PO Box 197, Stoneville, MS 38776, USA.

Piscirickettsia salmonis is the etiologic agent of piscirickettsiosis, an economically significant disease of fish. Isolation of P. salmonis by culturing on fish cell lines has been the standard technique since the initial isolation of the organism. The ability to grow P. salmonis on artificial media would relieve facilities of the cost of maintaining cell lines, permit isolation at fish culture sites with fewer contamination problems, and allow easier transport of isolates to diagnostic facilities for confirmation assays. This report describes the successful culture of P. salmonis on enriched blood agar.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/104063870802000211DOI Listing
March 2008
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