Case-Control Study of Epidemic Mortality and Cardicola forsteri-Associated Disease in Farmed Southern Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) of South Australia

Michelle Dennis, Matt Landos, Trent D'Antignana

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    20 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Cardicola forsteri is a blood fluke that is highly prevalent among cultured southern bluefin tuna (SBT), Thunnus maccoyii, in South Australia. The role of C forsteri in annual SBT mortality outbreaks, which peak 6 to 12 weeks poststocking, is unknown. The objective of this study was to identify lesions unique to cultured SBT that died during a mortality event in 2009 and to determine the significance of C forsteri-associated lesions. Cultured SBT were sampled from 4 pontoons of a single site in Spencer Gulf that experienced a mortality epidemic that spanned 5 to 14 weeks poststocking. Study SBT comprised 7 that died during peak mortality, 27 that did not die, and 10 wild-caught (noncultured) SBT. All cultured SBT had branchitis and myocarditis due to C forsteri, whereas no life stages of C forsteri were histologically identified in any wild-caught SBT. Mortality was associated with the presence of severe branchitis (P <.005), and the odds of severe branchitis were 90 times greater for SBT that died than for SBT that were live caught during peak mortality (95% confidence interval, 5 to 1,684). In SBT that had died, no lesions other than those associated with C forsteri were of sufficient severity or physiologic significance to account for death. Other lesions common among cultured SBT included systemic granulocytic perivascular infiltrate, granulocytic gastric infiltrate, hepatic lipidosis, visceral granulomas, and branchial parasitic infestation. This study shows for the first time that a substantial proportion of poststocking mortality in cultured SBT is strongly associated with severe branchitis caused by C forsteri.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)846-855
    Number of pages10
    JournalVeterinary Pathology
    Volume48
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

    Keywords

    • blood fluke
    • branchitis
    • Cardicola sp
    • gills
    • heart
    • inflammation
    • pathology
    • Thunnus maccoyii
    • Trematoda
    • tuna

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