Bonamia in Ostrea angasi: Diagnostic performance, field prevalence and intensity

Jessica J. Buss, Kathryn H. Wiltshire, Thomas A. A. Prowse, James O. Harris, Marty R. Deveney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Bonamia spp. parasites threaten flat oyster (Ostrea spp.) farming worldwide. Understanding test performance is important for designing surveillance and interpreting diagnostic results. Following a pilot survey which found low Bonamia sp. intensity in farmed Ostrea angasi, we tested further oysters (= 100–150) from each of three farms for Bonamia sp. using heart smear, histology and qPCR. We used a Bayesian Latent Class Model to assess diagnostic sensitivity (DSe) and specificity (DSp) of these tests individually or in combination, and to assess prevalence. Histology was the best individual test (DSe 0.76, DSp 0.93) compared to quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) (DSe 0.69, DSp 0.93) and heart smear (DSe 0.61, DSp 0.60). Histology combined with qPCR and defining a positive from either test as an infected case maximized test performance (DSe 0.91, DSp 0.88). Prevalence was higher at two farms in a high‐density oyster growing region than at a farm cultivating oysters at lower density. Parasite intensities were lower than in New Zealand and European studies, and this is probably contributed to differences in the performance of test when compared to other studies. Understanding diagnostic test performance in different populations can support the development of improved Bonamia surveillance programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-74
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Fish Diseases
Issue number1
Early online date16 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Bonamia sp.
  • Ostrea angasi
  • sensitivity
  • specificity


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