DAO 69:227-232 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/dao069227

Differences in virulence between two serotypes of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis

Alton G. Swennes, Jane G. Noe, R. Craig Findly, Harry W. Dickerson*

Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Naïve channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus were infected by 2 isolates of the parasitic ciliate Ichthyophthirius multifiliis that differed in virulence. The isolates, NY1 and G5, Serotypes A and D, respectively, express different surface immobilization-antigens. The virulence of the 2 isolates was compared using tail-fin infections to quantitate parasite numbers and by analysis of the survival of infected fish. Although NY1 infected fish at a lower level than G5, all NY1-infected fish died, but 51% of G5-infected fish survived. The greater virulence of NY1 is apparently a consequence of its shorter life cycle, which results in overwhelming reinfection of fish before they can develop a protective immune response. This report represents the first experimental evidence for differences in virulence between serotypes of I. multifiliis.


KEY WORDS: Fish parasite virulence · Ichthyophthirius multifiliis · Immobilization antigen · Ictalurus punctatus · Channel catfish


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