Associated disease risk from the introduced generalist pathogen Sphaerothecum destruens: management and policy implications.
The rosette agent Sphaerothecum destruens is a novel pathogen, which is currently believed to have been introduced into Europe along with the introduction of the invasive fish topmouth gudgeon Pseudorasbora parva (Temminck & Schlegel, 1846). Its close association with P. parva and its wide host species range and associated host mortalities, highlight this parasite as a potential source of disease emergence in European fish species. Here, using a meta-analysis of the reported S. destruens prevalence across all reported susceptible hosts species; we calculated host-specificity providing support that S. destruens is a true generalist. We have applied all the available information on S. destruens and host-range to an established framework for risk-assessing non-native parasites to evaluate the risks posed by S. destruens and discuss the next steps to manage and prevent disease emergence of this generalist parasite.