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Occurrence of Mycobacterium spp. in ornamental fish in Italy

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The occurrence of Mycobacterium spp. in freshwater and marine ornamental fish was studied in Italy from June 2002 to May 2005. Two surveys were carried out, one of aquarium fish sent to the Laboratory for diagnosis, and the other of prevalence of infection by mycobacteria in ornamental fish imported into Italy. Bacterial isolation was carried out from the spleen, kidney and liver, and the isolates were subsequently identified by biochemical tests. In the first survey, 387 fish were examined and Mycobacterium spp. were isolated from 181 (46.8%) fish. In the second survey 127 batches of ornamental fish from different countries were examined. Mycobacterium spp. were isolated from 38 (29.9%) batches. The following species were found: M. fortuitum, M. peregrinum, M. chelonae, M. abscessus, M. marinum, M. gordonae, M. nonchromogenicum and M. interjectum. There was a high prevalence of infection independent of the presence of macroscopic lesions. Mycobacterium fortuitum and M. chelonae were more prevalent than M. marinum in the samples examined.
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Keywords: Italy; Mycobacterium spp.; ornamental fish; prevalence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Department of Veterinary Public Health and Animal Pathology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy 2:  State Veterinary Institute of Piedmont, Liguria and Aosta Valley, Fish Disease Laboratory, Torino, Italy

Publication date: 01 June 2008

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