DAO 36:201-207 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/dao036201

Ichthyophthiriasis in carp Cyprinus carpio: infectivity of trophonts prematurely exiting both the immune and non-immune host

T. Wahli1,*, R. A. Matthews2

1Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, Institute of Animal Pathology, University of Berne, Länggass-Strasse 122, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
2Department of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, Devon, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT: Ichthyophthirius multifiliis exposed to naturally immunised carp established short-term infections, the majority of parasites actively emerging within 2 h of entering the epidermis. A small, but significant, number of these expelled parasites were shown to retain theront-like properties with the capacity to directly re-invade a further fish host. Infectivity fell rapidly with time in the host and was comparable to that of trophonts of a similar age artificially induced to emerge from non-immune hosts with the aid of MEM (minimal essential medium). Trophonts recovered with MEM from immune carp 2 to 8 h post infection rarely established infections upon exposure to susceptible new hosts and no infections resulted from older trophonts recovered after 8 to 24 h exposure; older trophonts, however, represented only a small percentage of the original parasite population. A low level of infectivity was recorded in trophonts collected with the aid of MEM from non-immune carp after up to 24 h of infection. The results are discussed in relation to theront transformation and evasion of the host immune response.

KEY WORDS: Ichthyophthirius multifiliis · Carp · Infectivity · Immune evasion · Premature exit

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