Bonamia parasites: a rapidly changing perspective on a genus of important mollusc pathogens.
Organisms of the genus Bonamia are intracellular protistan parasites of oysters. To date, 4 species have been described (B. ostreae, B. exitiosa, B. perspora and B. roughleyi), although the status of B. roughleyi is controversial. Introduction especially of B. ostreae and B. exitiosa to naïve host populations has been shown to cause mass mortalities in the past and has had a dramatic impact on oyster production. Both B. ostreae and B. exitiosa are pathogens notifiable to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the European Union. Effective management of the disease caused by these pathogens is complicated by the extensive nature of the oyster production process and limited options for disease control of the cultured stocks in open water. This review focuses on the recent advances in research on genetic relationships between Bonamia isolates, geographical distribution, susceptible host species, diagnostics, epizootiology, host-parasite interactions, and disease resistance and control of this globally important genus of oyster pathogens.