Pathogenesis of Gastroenteritis Caused by Vibrio carchariae in Cultured Marine Fish
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Serious mortality among the cultured grouper Epinephelus coioides, characterized by a swollen intestine containing yellow fluid (gastroenteritis), occurred in 1993 in Taiwan. A bacterium isolated from the intestinal fluid and head kidney of moribund groupers was identified as Vibrio carchariae. Since then, the same Vibrio species has also been isolated from moribund black sea bream Acanthopagrus schlegeli, yellowfin sea bream A. latus, Japanese sea bass Lateolabrax japonicus, and red drum Sciaenops ocellatus suffering from the same syndrome. Each isolate was virulent to the respective fish. Recently, a similar syndrome, flounder infectious necrotizing enteritis, also caused by V. carchariae in summer flounder Paralichthys dentatus, was reported in Rhode Island. The extracellular products (ECPs) of V. carchariae strains EmI82KL (from grouper), Rd (from red drum), and SfUSA (from summer flounder, U.S.A.) were virulent to the grouper or red drum. A 33-kDa serine protease partially purified from the ECP of strain EmI82KL was lethal to the fish. All the moribund or killed fish exhibited gastroenteritis except those killed within 12 hours. This report is the first to show that intraperitoneal injection of the ECP or protease in the fish is virulent and can reproduce gastroenteritis. The serine protease was suggested as a major toxin in the grouper or red drum secreted by V. carchariae.
KeywordsVibrio Gastroenteritis Head Kidney Vibrio Species Necrotizing Enteritis
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