Mortality and pathology of hybrid catfish, Clarias macrocephalus (Günther) × Clarias gariepinus (Burchell), associated with Edwardsiella ictaluri infection in southern Thailand

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Enteric septicaemia of catfish (ESC) caused by Edwardsiella ictaluri is becoming an increasing problem in aquaculture and has been reported worldwide in a variety of fish species. This study reports ESC in hybrid catfish, Clarias macrocephalus (Günther) × Clarias gariepinus (Burchell), cultured in southern Thailand. The bacteria were identified as E. ictaluri by conventional and rapid identification systems, as well as by genetic and phylogenetic characterization. Analysis of 16S rRNA indicated 100% homology to the 16S rRNA sequence of several E. ictaluri strains in GenBank. Plasmid profiles demonstrated 4.0- and 5.6-kb plasmids, compared with the 4.8- and 5.6-kb plasmids in the US isolates, and representative genes of three of the four known pathogenicity islands of US isolates were present. Serologically, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) purified from the Thai isolates was not recognized by a monoclonal antibody against the LPS of US isolates. Fish experimentally infected with E. ictaluri showed 23-100% mortality within 14 days with a 168-h LD50 of 6.92 × 107 CFU mL-1 by immersion and a 96-h LD50 of 1.58 × 106 CFU fish-1 by intraperitoneal injection. Examination of tissue sections obtained from both naturally and experimentally infected fish indicated that infection of hybrid catfish with E. ictaluri produced lesions in several organs including liver, kidney, spleen, heart and brain. Histopathology findings included cellular necrosis, focal haemorrhage, infiltration of lymphocytes and multifocal granulomatous inflammation in the infected organs. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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Journal of Fish Diseases

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