Marteiliosis in mussels: a rare disease?
Among 1280 cultured and wild adult Mediterranean mussels, Mytilus galloprovincialis, collected over a 1-year surveillance period from the Slovene Adriatic Sea, 0.3% were histologically positive for the presence of Marteilia spp. The infection was concentrated in winter. Employing the molecular methods of PCR, cloning, DNA restriction and sequencing, only Marteilia refringens type M was detected in all the infected mussels. Although all life-cycle stages of M. refringens severely infected digestive glands, only sporadic disruption of epithelial cells of digestive tubules and focal destruction of digestive tubules were observed in the infected mussels. This was the first detection of M. refringens in M. galloprovincialis from the Slovene Adriatic Sea with the lowest prevalence reported to date. In addition, our results highlight the need for sequencing to complement the established PCR-RFLP analysis for correct parasite typing.