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vibriosis in fish

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vibriosis in fish

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Animal Disease
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • vibriosis in fish
  • Pathogens
  • Vibrio
  • Vibrio alginolyticus
  • Vibrio anguillarum
  • Vibrio carchariae
  • Vibrio cholerae
  • Overview
  • Vibriosis is one of the most prevalent fish diseases caused by bacteria belonging to the genus Vibrio. Vibriosis caused by Vibrio anguillarum has been particularly devastating in the marine culture of salmonid fish. The causative age...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Electron micrograph of Vibrio anguillarum 775 showing single polar flagellum. Shadowed preparation x 10,000. (Micrograph by Dr J.H. Crosa.)
TitleVibrio anguillarum
CaptionElectron micrograph of Vibrio anguillarum 775 showing single polar flagellum. Shadowed preparation x 10,000. (Micrograph by Dr J.H. Crosa.)
CopyrightL. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Electron micrograph of Vibrio anguillarum 775 showing single polar flagellum. Shadowed preparation x 10,000. (Micrograph by Dr J.H. Crosa.)
Vibrio anguillarumElectron micrograph of Vibrio anguillarum 775 showing single polar flagellum. Shadowed preparation x 10,000. (Micrograph by Dr J.H. Crosa.)L. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) exhibiting some of the common signs of vibriosis. The extensive haemorrhaging along the lateral line and abdominal surfaces is typical of the chronic form of this disease. (Photograph obtained from Michael Schiewe, National Marine Fisheries Service.)
TitleJuvenile salmon exhibiting signs of vibriosis
CaptionJuvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) exhibiting some of the common signs of vibriosis. The extensive haemorrhaging along the lateral line and abdominal surfaces is typical of the chronic form of this disease. (Photograph obtained from Michael Schiewe, National Marine Fisheries Service.)
CopyrightL. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) exhibiting some of the common signs of vibriosis. The extensive haemorrhaging along the lateral line and abdominal surfaces is typical of the chronic form of this disease. (Photograph obtained from Michael Schiewe, National Marine Fisheries Service.)
Juvenile salmon exhibiting signs of vibriosisJuvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) exhibiting some of the common signs of vibriosis. The extensive haemorrhaging along the lateral line and abdominal surfaces is typical of the chronic form of this disease. (Photograph obtained from Michael Schiewe, National Marine Fisheries Service.)L. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Model of the pJM1-mediated iron uptake system. The pJM1 iron uptake region (I.U.R.), containing structural and regulatory genes for enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of anguibactin and proteins of the receptor complex, is shown. The genetic region encoding the regulator trans-acting factor (TAF) is also indicated. The receptor complex is shown enlarged, and the putative proteins involved in the transport process are schematically depicted in their location in the membranes or periplasmic space.
TitleModel of pJM1-mediated iron uptake system
CaptionModel of the pJM1-mediated iron uptake system. The pJM1 iron uptake region (I.U.R.), containing structural and regulatory genes for enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of anguibactin and proteins of the receptor complex, is shown. The genetic region encoding the regulator trans-acting factor (TAF) is also indicated. The receptor complex is shown enlarged, and the putative proteins involved in the transport process are schematically depicted in their location in the membranes or periplasmic space.
CopyrightL. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Model of the pJM1-mediated iron uptake system. The pJM1 iron uptake region (I.U.R.), containing structural and regulatory genes for enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of anguibactin and proteins of the receptor complex, is shown. The genetic region encoding the regulator trans-acting factor (TAF) is also indicated. The receptor complex is shown enlarged, and the putative proteins involved in the transport process are schematically depicted in their location in the membranes or periplasmic space.
Model of pJM1-mediated iron uptake systemModel of the pJM1-mediated iron uptake system. The pJM1 iron uptake region (I.U.R.), containing structural and regulatory genes for enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of anguibactin and proteins of the receptor complex, is shown. The genetic region encoding the regulator trans-acting factor (TAF) is also indicated. The receptor complex is shown enlarged, and the putative proteins involved in the transport process are schematically depicted in their location in the membranes or periplasmic space.L. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Structure of anguibactin. The ferric ion is coordinated by the O-hydroxy group, the nitrogen of the thiazoline ring, the hydroxamate and the deprotonated nitrogen of the imidazole ring (Jalal et al., 1989).
TitleStructure of anguibactin
CaptionStructure of anguibactin. The ferric ion is coordinated by the O-hydroxy group, the nitrogen of the thiazoline ring, the hydroxamate and the deprotonated nitrogen of the imidazole ring (Jalal et al., 1989).
CopyrightL. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Structure of anguibactin. The ferric ion is coordinated by the O-hydroxy group, the nitrogen of the thiazoline ring, the hydroxamate and the deprotonated nitrogen of the imidazole ring (Jalal et al., 1989).
Structure of anguibactinStructure of anguibactin. The ferric ion is coordinated by the O-hydroxy group, the nitrogen of the thiazoline ring, the hydroxamate and the deprotonated nitrogen of the imidazole ring (Jalal et al., 1989).L. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Bioassay to detect levels of anguibactin activity. Minimal-medium plates were seeded with an indicator Vibrio anguillarum strain which has the receptor for Fe(III)-anguibactin but does not produce the siderophore. Samples of partially purified product from V. anguillarum cultures were added to the filter disc and placed on top of the agar. The growth of the indicator strain around the paper disc gives an idea of the amount of anguibactin added. The discs were spotted with: A, 1 µl of product from V. anguillarum harbouring the iron-uptake region clone in addition to pJHC-T6.14; B, 10 µl of product from V. anguillarum harbouring the iron-uptake region clone without pJHC-T6.14. (From Tolmasky et al., 1988a, with permission from the authors and the American Society for Microbiology.)
TitleBioassay to detect levels of anguibactin activity
CaptionBioassay to detect levels of anguibactin activity. Minimal-medium plates were seeded with an indicator Vibrio anguillarum strain which has the receptor for Fe(III)-anguibactin but does not produce the siderophore. Samples of partially purified product from V. anguillarum cultures were added to the filter disc and placed on top of the agar. The growth of the indicator strain around the paper disc gives an idea of the amount of anguibactin added. The discs were spotted with: A, 1 µl of product from V. anguillarum harbouring the iron-uptake region clone in addition to pJHC-T6.14; B, 10 µl of product from V. anguillarum harbouring the iron-uptake region clone without pJHC-T6.14. (From Tolmasky et al., 1988a, with permission from the authors and the American Society for Microbiology.)
CopyrightL. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Bioassay to detect levels of anguibactin activity. Minimal-medium plates were seeded with an indicator Vibrio anguillarum strain which has the receptor for Fe(III)-anguibactin but does not produce the siderophore. Samples of partially purified product from V. anguillarum cultures were added to the filter disc and placed on top of the agar. The growth of the indicator strain around the paper disc gives an idea of the amount of anguibactin added. The discs were spotted with: A, 1 µl of product from V. anguillarum harbouring the iron-uptake region clone in addition to pJHC-T6.14; B, 10 µl of product from V. anguillarum harbouring the iron-uptake region clone without pJHC-T6.14. (From Tolmasky et al., 1988a, with permission from the authors and the American Society for Microbiology.)
Bioassay to detect levels of anguibactin activityBioassay to detect levels of anguibactin activity. Minimal-medium plates were seeded with an indicator Vibrio anguillarum strain which has the receptor for Fe(III)-anguibactin but does not produce the siderophore. Samples of partially purified product from V. anguillarum cultures were added to the filter disc and placed on top of the agar. The growth of the indicator strain around the paper disc gives an idea of the amount of anguibactin added. The discs were spotted with: A, 1 µl of product from V. anguillarum harbouring the iron-uptake region clone in addition to pJHC-T6.14; B, 10 µl of product from V. anguillarum harbouring the iron-uptake region clone without pJHC-T6.14. (From Tolmasky et al., 1988a, with permission from the authors and the American Society for Microbiology.)L. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Physical and genetic map of mutations generated by insertion of Tn 3-HoHo1 in recombinant clones carrying the pJM1 iron uptake region. Restriction endonuclease sites are shown for EcoRI (E) and XhoI (X). Vertical bars show insertions that resulted in silent mutants. Short stalks indicate location of insertions that impaired the iron uptake system. Insertions in which the promoterless lacZ in Tn 3-HoHo1 is orientated from left to right are above the bar representing the DNA fragment, and those insertions in which lacZ is orientated from right to left are indicated below the bar. The large arrows indicate the orientation of lacZ. Open circles represent insertions with no ß-galactosidase activity, closed circles indicate that ß-galactosidase was produced constitutively and squares represent iron-regulated production of the enzyme. Numerals I to VI and the distinctive shading symbolize the different genetic units. (From Tolmasky et al., 1988a, with permission from the authors and the Ameri
TitlePhysical and genetic map of mutations
CaptionPhysical and genetic map of mutations generated by insertion of Tn 3-HoHo1 in recombinant clones carrying the pJM1 iron uptake region. Restriction endonuclease sites are shown for EcoRI (E) and XhoI (X). Vertical bars show insertions that resulted in silent mutants. Short stalks indicate location of insertions that impaired the iron uptake system. Insertions in which the promoterless lacZ in Tn 3-HoHo1 is orientated from left to right are above the bar representing the DNA fragment, and those insertions in which lacZ is orientated from right to left are indicated below the bar. The large arrows indicate the orientation of lacZ. Open circles represent insertions with no ß-galactosidase activity, closed circles indicate that ß-galactosidase was produced constitutively and squares represent iron-regulated production of the enzyme. Numerals I to VI and the distinctive shading symbolize the different genetic units. (From Tolmasky et al., 1988a, with permission from the authors and the Ameri
CopyrightL. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Physical and genetic map of mutations generated by insertion of Tn 3-HoHo1 in recombinant clones carrying the pJM1 iron uptake region. Restriction endonuclease sites are shown for EcoRI (E) and XhoI (X). Vertical bars show insertions that resulted in silent mutants. Short stalks indicate location of insertions that impaired the iron uptake system. Insertions in which the promoterless lacZ in Tn 3-HoHo1 is orientated from left to right are above the bar representing the DNA fragment, and those insertions in which lacZ is orientated from right to left are indicated below the bar. The large arrows indicate the orientation of lacZ. Open circles represent insertions with no ß-galactosidase activity, closed circles indicate that ß-galactosidase was produced constitutively and squares represent iron-regulated production of the enzyme. Numerals I to VI and the distinctive shading symbolize the different genetic units. (From Tolmasky et al., 1988a, with permission from the authors and the Ameri
Physical and genetic map of mutationsPhysical and genetic map of mutations generated by insertion of Tn 3-HoHo1 in recombinant clones carrying the pJM1 iron uptake region. Restriction endonuclease sites are shown for EcoRI (E) and XhoI (X). Vertical bars show insertions that resulted in silent mutants. Short stalks indicate location of insertions that impaired the iron uptake system. Insertions in which the promoterless lacZ in Tn 3-HoHo1 is orientated from left to right are above the bar representing the DNA fragment, and those insertions in which lacZ is orientated from right to left are indicated below the bar. The large arrows indicate the orientation of lacZ. Open circles represent insertions with no ß-galactosidase activity, closed circles indicate that ß-galactosidase was produced constitutively and squares represent iron-regulated production of the enzyme. Numerals I to VI and the distinctive shading symbolize the different genetic units. (From Tolmasky et al., 1988a, with permission from the authors and the AmeriL. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Physical and genetic map of pMJ101. Restriction endonuclease sites are shown for BamHI (B), BglII (Bg), HindIII (H), EcoRI (EI), EcoRV (EV), and XbaI (X). The DNA fragment harbouring the minimal pMJ101 replication region is indicated by the shaded area.
TitlePhysical and genetic map of pMJ101
CaptionPhysical and genetic map of pMJ101. Restriction endonuclease sites are shown for BamHI (B), BglII (Bg), HindIII (H), EcoRI (EI), EcoRV (EV), and XbaI (X). The DNA fragment harbouring the minimal pMJ101 replication region is indicated by the shaded area.
CopyrightL. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Physical and genetic map of pMJ101. Restriction endonuclease sites are shown for BamHI (B), BglII (Bg), HindIII (H), EcoRI (EI), EcoRV (EV), and XbaI (X). The DNA fragment harbouring the minimal pMJ101 replication region is indicated by the shaded area.
Physical and genetic map of pMJ101Physical and genetic map of pMJ101. Restriction endonuclease sites are shown for BamHI (B), BglII (Bg), HindIII (H), EcoRI (EI), EcoRV (EV), and XbaI (X). The DNA fragment harbouring the minimal pMJ101 replication region is indicated by the shaded area.L. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Electron micrograph of Vibrio salmonicida showing a polar tuft of nine sheathed flagella. x 7120. Bar = 1 µm. (From Egidius et al., 1986, with permission from the authors and the American Society for Microbiology.)
TitleVibrio salmonicida
CaptionElectron micrograph of Vibrio salmonicida showing a polar tuft of nine sheathed flagella. x 7120. Bar = 1 µm. (From Egidius et al., 1986, with permission from the authors and the American Society for Microbiology.)
CopyrightL. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Electron micrograph of Vibrio salmonicida showing a polar tuft of nine sheathed flagella. x 7120. Bar = 1 µm. (From Egidius et al., 1986, with permission from the authors and the American Society for Microbiology.)
Vibrio salmonicidaElectron micrograph of Vibrio salmonicida showing a polar tuft of nine sheathed flagella. x 7120. Bar = 1 µm. (From Egidius et al., 1986, with permission from the authors and the American Society for Microbiology.)L. A. Actis, M. E. Tolmasky & J. H. Crosa
Scophthalmus maximus; Mature turbot probably killed by vibriosis.
TitleDiseased mature turbot
CaptionScophthalmus maximus; Mature turbot probably killed by vibriosis.
CopyrightBari R Howell
Scophthalmus maximus; Mature turbot probably killed by vibriosis.
Diseased mature turbotScophthalmus maximus; Mature turbot probably killed by vibriosis.Bari R Howell

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • vibriosis in fish

International Common Names

  • English: cold-water vibriosis; haemorrhagic syndrome; Hitra disease; red pest of eels; Vibrio infections in fish; vibriosis

Pathogen/s

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Vibrio
Vibrio alginolyticus
Vibrio anguillarum
Vibrio carchariae
Vibrio cholerae
Vibrio damsela
Vibrio harveyi
Vibrio ordalii
Vibrio parahaemolyticus
Vibrio pelagius
Vibrio salmonicida
Vibrio splendidus
Vibrio tubiashii
Vibrio vulnificus

Overview

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Vibriosis is one of the most prevalent fish diseases caused by bacteria belonging to the genus Vibrio. Vibriosis caused by Vibrio anguillarum has been particularly devastating in the marine culture of salmonid fish. The causative agent, V. anguillarum, was first described in 1909 by Bergman as the aetiological agent of the ‘red pest of eels’ in the Baltic Sea. Before this report, Canestrini (1893) described epizootics in migrating eels (Anguilla vulgaris) dating back to 1817 that implicated a bacterium named Bacillus anguillarum. The pathology of the disease and the characteristics of the bacterium in these two reports suggested that the aetiological agents were the same. Vibriosis was not reported in North America until 1953, when V. anguillarum was isolated from chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) (Rucker et al., 1953). Outbreaks affecting close to 50 species of fresh- and salt-water fishes have been reported in several countries in the Pacific, as well as the Atlantic coasts (Anderson and Conroy, 1970; Strout et al., 1978; Tolmasky et al., 1985; 1988a). The losses produced by this disease are so disastrous that vibriosis caused by V. anguillarum has been recognized as a major obstacle for salmonid marine culture (Schiewe, 1983; Winton et al., 1983; Trust, 1986). Several years ago, Harrell et al. (1976) demonstrated that isolates of V. anguillarum, the most important aetiological agent of vibriosis, exhibited a marked heterogeneity, which led to the division of these vibrios into two separate biotypes, 1 and 2 (Schiewe et al., 1977). Later on, Schiewe et al. (1981) proposed a new species for the V. anguillarum biotype 2, based on cultural and biochemical characteristics, as well as in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) homology with the biotype 1. This new species was named Vibrio ordalii in honour of Erling J. Ordal.

Other members of the genus Vibrio have been isolated in outbreaks of vibriosis in fish and shellfish. These aetiological agents include Vibrio salmonicida, a pathogen isolated on the Norwegian coast, causing Hitra disease or cold water vibriosis; Vibrio damsela (Love et al., 1981); Vibrio vulnificus biotype II (Tison et al., 1982); Vibrio tubiashii (Hada et al., 1984); Vibrio carchariae (Grimes et al., 1984); and Vibrio cholerae non-O1 (Muroga et al., 1979; Yamanoi et al., 1980). Vibrio splendidus and Vibrio pelagius, atypical V. anguillarum strains and strains from the environment have been isolated from infected fish on the Atlantic coast of Spain and Norway (Toranzo and Barja, 1990).

Future research

Vibrio pelagius and V. splendidus have been described as new bacteria causing vibriosis in juvenile and adult turbot (Lupiani et al., 1989). Pathogenicity of V. splendidus was confirmed by experimental infections (Toranzo and Barja, 1990). However, most if not all the virulence mechanisms of these fish pathogens are still unknown, and further investigations are essential not only to elucidate these mechanisms but also to identify essential bacterial products that could lead to the development of more efficient prophylactic and treatment methods for vibriosis.

[Based upon material originally published in Woo PTK, Bruno DW, eds., 1999. Fish diseases and disorders, Vol. 3 Viral, bacterial and fungal infections. Wallingford, UK: CABI Publishing.]

Host Animals

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Animal nameContextLife stageSystem
Acipenser baerii baerii (siberian sturgeon)Domesticated host; Wild hostAquatic|AdultEnclosed systems/Freshwater recirculating systems; Enclosed systems/Ponds; Enclosed systems/Raceways / running water ponds; Enclosed systems/Tanks
Anguilla anguilla (European eel)
Anguilla japonica (Japanese eel)Domesticated host
Chanos chanos (milkfish)
Chromis punctipinnis
Crassostrea virginica (eastern oyster)
Cromileptes altivelis (humpback grouper)
Epinephelus akaara (hong Kong grouper)Aquatic|Adult; Aquatic|Broodstock; Aquatic|FryEnclosed systems/Cages; Enclosed systems/Pens; Enclosed systems/Ponds; Enclosed systems/Tanks
Etroplus suratensis (green chromide)Aquatic|Adult
Gadus morhua (Atlantic cod)Domesticated host
Hippocampus (seahorses)Aquatic|Adult; Aquatic|BroodstockEnclosed systems/Aquaria (marine / freshwater ornamentals)
Homarus americanus (American lobster)
Homo sapiens
Ictalurus punctatus (channel catfish)
Lates calcarifer (barramundi)Domesticated hostAquatic|FryEnclosed systems/Cages
Morone chrysops (white bass)Aquatic|Adult; Aquatic|Broodstock; Aquatic|Fry; Aquatic|LarvalEnclosed systems/Ponds; Enclosed systems/Tanks
Morone chrysops x Morone saxatilisAquatic|Adult; Aquatic|Broodstock; Aquatic|Fry; Aquatic|LarvalEnclosed systems/Ponds; Enclosed systems/Tanks
Morone saxatilis (striped sea-bass)Aquatic|Adult; Aquatic|Broodstock; Aquatic|Fry; Aquatic|LarvalEnclosed systems/Ponds; Enclosed systems/Tanks
Mugil cephalus (flathead mullet)
Oncorhynchus gorbuscha (pink salmon)
Oncorhynchus keta (chum salmon)
Oncorhynchus kisutch (coho salmon)
Oncorhynchus masou masou (cherry salmon)
Oncorhynchus masou rhodurus
Oncorhynchus mykiss (rainbow trout)Domesticated host; Wild hostEnclosed systems/Ponds
Oncorhynchus nerka (sockeye salmon)
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (chinook salmon)Domesticated host; Wild hostAquatic|All Stages
Oreochromis aureus (blue tilapia)
Oreochromis mossambicus (Mozambique tilapia)Domesticated host; Wild hostAquatic|AdultEnclosed systems/Cages; Enclosed systems/Pens; Enclosed systems/Ponds
Oreochromis niloticus (Nile tilapia)Domesticated host; Wild hostAquatic|AdultEnclosed systems/Cages; Enclosed systems/Pens; Enclosed systems/Ponds
Ostrea edulis (European oyster)
Pagrus major (red seabream)
Paralichthys olivaceus (bastard halibut)
Penaeus
Plecoglossus altivelis (ayu)Domesticated host
Pollachius virens
Psetta maxima (turbot)Aquatic|Adult; Aquatic|Fry; Aquatic|LarvalEnclosed systems/Tanks
Pseudopleuronectes americanus (winter flounder)
Rachycentron canadum (cobia)Domesticated hostAquatic|Adult; Aquatic|FryEnclosed systems/Cages; Enclosed systems/Marine recirculating systems; Enclosed systems/Ponds; Enclosed systems/Tanks
Salmo salar (Atlantic salmon)Domesticated host
Salmo trutta (sea trout)Wild hostAquatic|Adult
Sebastes schlegeliiAquatic|FryEnclosed systems/Cages; Enclosed systems/Ponds; Enclosed systems/Tanks
Seriola quinqueradiata (japanese amberjack)Aquatic|AdultEnclosed systems/Cages; Enclosed systems/Pens
Sparus aurata (gilthead seabream)Domesticated host; Wild hostAquatic|Adult; Aquatic|FryEnclosed systems/Cages

Hosts/Species Affected

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Vibrio anguillarum

Vibriosis occurs in cultured and wild marine fish in salt or brackish water, particularly in shallow waters during late summer. It was originally believed that scavenger fish feeding around the farms were the natural reservoir of V. anguillarum, and contact between fish seems to be an important factor for the spread of this pathogen. However, there is evidence that V. anguillarum is normally present in the food of cultured and wild healthy fish (Frerichs and Roberts, 1989). The temperature and quality of the water, the virulence of the V. anguillarum strain and stress on the fish are important elements influencing the onset of disease outbreaks.

A review by Toranzo and Barja (1990) details reports of V. anguillarum-caused vibriosis in cultured fish, molluscs and crustacea.

Vibriosis outbreaks caused by Vibrio anguillarum (from Toranzo and Barja, 1990).


SpeciesCountry
Pacific salmon 
Oncorhynchus kisutchUSA, Japan, Spain
O. keta, O. nerka, O. gorbuschaCanada
O. masou, O. rhodurusJapan
O. tshawytschaUSA, Canada
Atlantic salmon 
Salmo salarNorway
Trout 
Oncorhynchus mykissUSA, Japan, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Spain
Salmo truttaScotland
Turbot 
Scophthalmus maximus [Psetta maxima]Scotland, Spain
Striped bass 
Morone saxatilisUSA
Winter flounder 
Pseudopleuronectes americanusUSA
Cod 
Gadus morhuaNorway, Denmark
Red sea-bream 
Pagrus majorJapan
European eel 
Anguilla anguillaNorway
Japanese eel 
Anguilla japonicaJapan
Saithe 
Pollachius virensNorway
Gilthead sea-bream 
Sparus aurataIsrael
Sea mullet 
Mugil cephalusScotland
Seriola 
Seriola quinqueradiataJapan
Channel catfish 
Ictalurus punctatusUSA
Milkfish 
Chanos chanosTaiwan
Ayu 
Plecoglossus altivelisJapan
Tilapia 
Oreochromis aureusKuwait
European oyster 
Ostrea edulisUSA, UK, Spain
Japanese oyster 
Crassostrea virginicaUSA
Clam 
Mercenaria mercenariaUSA
Lobster 
Homarus americanusUSA
Shrimp 
Penaeus sp.USA

Vibrio salmonicida



V. salmonicida affects mainly fish farms with Atlantic salmon and occasionally with rainbow trout. It has also been described as the aetiological agent of cold-water vibriosis affecting farmed cod in Norway (Sørum et al., 1990). Hitra disease occurs mainly in late autumn, winter or early spring (Egidius et al., 1981).

Vibrio damsela

V. damsela was identified as the causative agent of skin ulcers present in diseased blacksmith, a temperate-water damselfish (Chromis punctipinnis) (Love et al., 1981).

Infections with V. damsela seem to be limited to blacksmith populations, between August and October, on the Californian coast, and from June to August on Cataline Island (references in Love et al., 1981). Outbreaks may be due to elevated water temperature and growth of the bacteria. Another factor contributing to the outbreaks could be a reduction of host defences in blacksmiths during late summer, when they are breeding (Love et al., 1981).

V. damsela was also identified as a human pathogen; several cases were reported of severe, progressive necrotizing infection found in wounds of patients living in coastal regions (Morris et al., 1982; Coffey et al., 1986).

Vibrio vulnificus

V. vulnificus, also known as Vibrio anguillicida, is capable of causing disease in cultured eels (Anguilla japonica) (Nishibuchi et al., 1979, 1980). It was isolated during outbreaks of vibriosis in eels in Japan (Muroga et al., 1976) and the UK (Austin, 1987).

Severe human infections caused by V. vulnificus biogroup 1 have been reported (Blake et al., 1980).

Distribution

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Vibrio salmonicida

Hitra disease appeared in 1977 and occurred for the first time on a large scale in 1979 in fish farms in the Norwegian island of Hitra. Since then, it has devastated fish farms located along the western and northern Norwegian coast (Egidius et al., 1981). However, single outbreaks have also been reported in Scotland (Bruno et al., 1985, 1986), on the Faroe Islands (Dalsgaard et al., 1988) and in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada (referenced in Sørum et al.,1992).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Asia

IsraelPresentOriginal citation: Toranzo and Barja (1990)
JapanPresent
KuwaitPresentOriginal citation: Toranzo and Barja (1990)
TaiwanPresentOriginal citation: Toranzo and Barja (1990)

Europe

DenmarkPresentOriginal citation: Toranzo and Barja (1990)
Faroe IslandsPresentOriginal citation: Dalsgaard and et al. (1988)
ItalyPresentOriginal citation: Toranzo and Barja (1990)
NorwayPresent
SpainPresentOriginal citation: Toranzo and Barja (1990)
United KingdomPresent

North America

CanadaPresentOriginal citation: Toranzo and Barja (1990)
-New BrunswickPresentOriginal citation: Sorum and et al. (1992)
-Nova ScotiaPresentOriginal citation: Sorum and et al. (1992)
United StatesPresentOriginal citation: Toranzo and Barja (1990)
-CaliforniaPresentOriginal citation: Love and et al. (1981)

Pathology

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Vibrio anguillarum

This disease is characterized by a haemorrhagic septicaemia. The number of leucocytes is reduced (Ransom et al. 1984), and darkening of the diseased fish is noted, with petechiae at the base of fins and skin. Ulcers can also be observed. Cisar and Fryer (1969) reported that the intestine becomes distended and fills with a clear, viscous liquid. Vibrio anguillarum was found in large numbers in the blood and haematopoietic tissues. The pathology is more severe in the descending gastrointestinal tract and rectum than in the anterior region, due to a pH gradient, which is alkaline in the rectum and becomes acidic towards the anterior gastrointestinal tract. Ransom et al. (1984) demonstrated that V. anguillarum cannot grow in an acidic medium. Histological examination of infected rainbow trout tissues can demonstrate the location of the V. anguillarum during infection (Nelson et al., 1985a,b). The bacterium was initially found in the spleen, but, as the number of cells in this organ increased, bacteria appeared in the kidney. At the time of death, most tissues were septic and no phagocytosis by macrophages was detected (Nelson et al., 1985b). Severe cardiac myopathy, renal and splenic necrosis and periorbital oedema were also described in preacute vibriosis cases (Frerichs and Roberts, 1989). A comparison of pathological changes caused by V. anguillarum and its extracellular products in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), as well as an analysis of the non-specific cellular responses of rainbow trout to these products, has been described by Lamas et al. (1994a,b).

Vibrio ordalii

Histopathological studies in naturally acquired vibriosis in chum salmon showed that V. ordalii has a different tissue tropism compared with V. anguillarum, since it localizes more frequently in the muscle and skin, with bacterial colonies or aggregations that can replace large areas of host tissues (Ransom, 1978; Schiewe, 1983). In some of the infected places, the bacterium also causes the necrosis and haemorrhaging of the surrounding tissues. These findings indicate that the bacterium can enter the host by invasion of the salmonid integument. Colonies of V. ordalii are commonly found in loose connective tissues in the gills, throughout the digestive tract and in the pyloric caeca, suggesting that the infection could also begin at these sites. Occasionally, V. ordalii can be observed as microcolonies in spleen and liver, and low counts in blood may be observed during the initial stages of the infection. A similar pathology was observed when either chum, coho or chinook salmons were exposed to a large number of bacterial cells in experimental water borne infections. This observation established that this is a valid model to study the mechanisms of pathogenesis, as well as the bacterial virulence factors involved.

Vibrio salmonicida

The characteristics of this disease, also known as haemorrhagic syndrome, are anaemia and haemorrhages with a generalized septicaemia, presenting large amounts of bacterial cells in the blood of moribund or recently dead fish. The haemorrhages are mainly found in the integument surrounding the internal organs of the fish (Poppe et al., 1985; Egidius et al., 1986). However, in described cases of cod infections, some differences were found in the pathology. The infected cod fry show cataracts, cranial haemorrhage and splenomegaly, symptoms that are closer to those observed in cod when infected with V. anguillarum (referenced in Sørum et al., 1990).

Vibrio damsela

The ulcers present in diseased blacksmith vary from 0.5 to 2 cm in diameter and are characterized by muscle lysis and histiocytes present in the dermis and skeletal muscles (Love et al., 1981).

Diagnosis

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Vibrio anguillarum

The characteristic clinical signs of vibriosis include red spots on the ventral and lateral areas of the fish and swollen and dark skin lesions that ulcerate, releasing a blood exudate (Fig. Juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) exhibiting some of the common signs of vibriosis). There are also corneal lesions, characterized by an initial opacity, followed by ulceration and evulsion of the orbital contents. However, in acute and severe epizootics, the course of the infection is rapid, and most of the infected fish die without showing any clinical signs.

Outbreaks of V. anguillarum may lead to a rapid loss of farmed fish. Therefore, a quick diagnosis to minimize fish losses is essential. Identification methods include a culture medium for presumptive identification, a sensitivity assay to filter discs impregnated with a saturated solution of the vibriostatic agent 0/129 (2,4-diamino-6,7-diisopropylteridine), nitrate reduction, presence of oxidase, catalase and arginine decarboxylase, reaction with monoclonal antibodies and antiflagellar antiserum, and hybridization with specific 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) oligonucleotides (Shewan et al., 1954; Larsen, 1983; Tassin et al., 1983; Rehnstam et al., 1989; Alsina et al., 1994; Martinez-Picado et al., 1994). Identification of Vibrio species that possess similar biochemical and morphological properties can be achieved by using monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) prepared against sodium azide-killed cells (Chen et al., 1992). Three types of MAbs were analysed and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) immunofluorescence tests showed that the genus-specific MAbs were very useful for identifying vibrios, while the species-specific MAbs were useful for completing the diagnosis. Most of these biochemical and immunological methods require the culture and isolation of the infecting bacteria from the fish. Conversely, newer hybridization techniques do not require a pure culture. Rehnstam et al. (1989) and Martinez- Picado et al. (1994) described synthetic oligonucleotides used as specific probes for the identification of V. anguillarum. These oligonucleotides were designed using the information generated after sequencing the 16S rRNA from several V. anguillarum strains. The radiolabelled nucleotides were used as probes in DNA hybridization assays, which are carried out using purified DNA and homogenized fish tissues, such as kidney. The hybridization of these probes against V. anguillarum DNA is very specific, with no cross-hybridization against other bacterial species. This molecular assay permits the identification of V. anguillarum within 24 h.

In comparative studies, pathogenic, environmental and reference strains are similar, but no cross-reacting antigens are present in these strains (Larsen, 1983). Therefore, the classification of V. anguillarum by serological methods has proved to be convenient (Pacha and Kiehn, 1969; Johnsen, 1977; Kitao et al., 1983; Sørensen and Larsen, 1986). A serotyping scheme has been proposed based on the detection by slide agglutination of V. anguillarum O antigens (Sørensen and Larsen, 1986). Using this test, Toranzo et al. (1987) detected the presence of this pathogen in infected fish. Ten serotypes (O1-O10) have been described in V. anguillarum; however, most vibriosis outbreaks involving cultured salmonid fish and feral marine fish have been shown to be caused by strains belonging to serotypes O1 and O2, respectively (Toranzo and Barja, 1990). Strains belonging to serotypes O3 to O10 have been mainly isolated from marine environmental samples, including water, sediment and phyto- and zooplankton. Bolinches et al. (1990) used a combination of immunological methods, including double immunodiffusion, dot-blot assay and an enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent technique, and established that the O2 group can be subdivided into two subgroups, O2a and O2b. This finding agreed with that of Rasmussen (1987b), who demonstrated that two lipopolysaccharide species, nominated O2a and O2b, were present in O2 strains. Bacteria belonging to the O2a group were isolated from salmonids and non-salmonid fish, while strains belonging to the O2b group were isolated only from non-salmonids. The question of whether the heterogeneity observed within the O2 also occurs in other serotypes awaits further study.

The presence of capsular antigens (K antigens) has been reported for V. anguillarum of the O1, O4, O5 and O6 groups (Rasmussen, 1987a,c; Tajima et al., 1987a,b). However, the role of K antigens in pathogenicity remains to be determined.

The correlation between serotype and pathogenicity may reflect the ability of the bacterial surface antigens to interact with the host’s tissues. Furthermore, studies of surface components, such as outer-membrane proteins and lipopolysaccharides, of V. anguillarum strains demonstrated that these bacterial components are related to the serotypes of the pathogens (Aoki et al., 1981; Nomura and Aoki, 1985).

Agglutination has also been used to type environmental and fish isolates (Larsen and Mellegaard, 1984). All V. anguillarum isolates either exerted mannose-sensitive haemagglutination or were non-agglutinating. The V. anguillarum agglutinins have specificity against human, poultry, guinea pig and trout erythrocytes, as well as yeast cells. Therefore, a scheme was developed based on the agglutination ability of the different isolates for specific eukaryotic cells. Eight different agglutination types (A-H) were defined by this method.

Vibrio vulnificus

This fish pathogen can be identified using an ELISA for the haemolysin, avoiding the lengthy and labour-intensive biochemical assays used for its identification (Parker and Lewis, 1995). A nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method was developed for rapid and sensitive detection of V. vulnificus in fish and environmental specimens (Arias et al., 1995), using rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes specific for V. vulnificus (Aznar et al., 1994).

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Finfish / Change in cloudiness - Eyes Aquatic|Adult Sign
Finfish / Change in shape (e.g. distension) - Eyes Aquatic|Adult Sign
Finfish / Darkened coloration - Skin and Fins Aquatic|Adult Sign
Finfish / Haemorrhaging - Body Cavity and Muscle Aquatic|Adult Sign
Finfish / Intestines white-grey patches (haemorrhage / necrosis / tissue damage) - Organs Aquatic|Adult Sign
Finfish / Mortalities -Miscellaneous Aquatic|Adult Sign
Finfish / Mucus-filled intestines - Organs Aquatic|Adult Sign
Finfish / Periorbital oedema - Eyes Aquatic|Adult Sign
Finfish / Red spots: pin-point size (petechiae) - Skin and Fins Aquatic|Adult Sign
Finfish / Skin erosion - Skin and Fins Aquatic|Adult Sign
Finfish / Spleen white-grey patches (haemorrhage / necrosis / tissue damage) - Organs Aquatic|Adult Sign
Finfish / Splenomegaly - spleen swelling / oedema - Organs Aquatic|Fry Sign

Disease Course

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Vibrio ordalii

Juvenile salmon exposed to V. ordalii by parenteral challenge developed a systemic infection and the bacterium was recovered from liver, kidneys, spleen and blood immediately after the infection (Schiewe, 1983). However, the number of bacteria in the liver declined after 1 h and then increased 22 h postinfection, bacterial numbers were high in all the organs and 100% mortality occurred 6 days after infection.

Vibrio damsela

Experimental infections, in which wounds were artificially induced and V. damsela cells were swabbed, showed that ulcers appeared after 3 days and the animals died on the fourth day. In other experiments, V. damsela was shown to induce ulcer formation by directly swabbing the flank, although in this case only 50% of the experimental animals died.

The pathogenicity of V. damsela is correlated with production of a cytolysin, named damselysin, using mice as the animal model (Kreger, 1984). This cytolysin was purified and identified as a phospholipase D (Kothary and Kreger, 1985; Kreger et al., 1987). The gene encoding damselysin was cloned from the chromosome of V. damsela and expressed in Escherichia coli (Cutter and Kreger, 1990). The recombinant clone containing this gene, designated dly, was used as a probe in dot-blot hybridizations against different species of the genus Vibrio. No homology was detected in these assays. In addition, these studies demonstrated that highly haemolytic strains of V. damsela showed homology to the dly gene, while those strains that had lower haemolytic activity had no homology to this gene. These authors also demonstrated (using Southern blot hybridization analysis with the same probe against restriction endonuclease-treated genomic DNA) that two different fragments had homology to the dly probe. The fragment detected in hybridizations against DNA from the intermediate to low haemolytic strains was larger than that detected using DNA from highly haemolytic strains. The authors suggested that this was an indication of a damselysin gene rearrangement that could be responsible for the different haemolytic activities detected in these strains (Cutter and Kreger, 1990).

However, it has been suggested that several other factors contribute to the virulence of V. damsela. It was shown that the ability to resist the bactericidal effect of non-immune serum correlates with virulence, since only virulent strains were able to grow in the presence of untreated human and turbot sera (Fouz et al., 1994). Furthermore, this report showed that the growth of this bacterium was enhanced by the addition of haemoglobin and ferric ammonium citrate. These results indicate that the ability to acquire iron may play a central role in the pathogenesis of the infections caused by this fish pathogen.

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Fisheries / aquaculture Negative
Human health Negative
Native fauna Negative

Zoonoses and Food Safety

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Vibrio damsela

V. damsela has been identified as a human pathogen; several cases were reported of severe, progressive necrotizing infection found in wounds of patients living in coastal regions (Morris et al., 1982; Coffey et al., 1986).

Vibrio vulnificus

Severe human infections caused by V. vulnificus biogroup 1 have been reported (Blake et al., 1980), and environmental studies demonstrated that this bacterium is widespread along the coasts (Oliver et al., 1983). A case of human infection caused by a V. vulnificus strain very similar to the eel isolates has been described (Veenstra et al., 1992). Although this human isolate was indole-negative, the main characteristic of biogroup 2, other reactions, such as the ornithine decarboxylase test, and growth at 42°C were different from those described by Tison et al. (1982). The infection seemed to be caused from contact with an infected eel through an open wound (Veenstra et al., 1992). Mascola et al. (1996) reported that V. vulnificus fatal infections are also associated with eating contaminated raw or undercooked seafood, particularly raw oysters. This study demonstrated that immunocompromised patients and persons with chronic liver diseases are at increased risk.

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Distribution References

CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

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