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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 100:159-167 (2012)  -  DOI:

Limited prevalance of gaffkaemia (Aerococcus viridans var. homari) isolated from wild-caught European lobsters Homarus gammarus in England and Wales

P. D. Stebbing1,*, M. J. Pond1, E. Peeler1, H. J. Small2, S. J. Greenwood3, D. Verner-Jeffreys1

1The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8UB, UK
2Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary, PO Box 1346, Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062, USA
3Department of Biomedical Sciences and AVC Lobster Science Centre, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Ave, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island C1A 4P3, Canada

ABSTRACT: Gaffkaemia, caused by Aerococcus viridans var. homari, causes fatal infections in Homarus spp. (clawed lobsters). Despite its high economic significance to the lobster fisheries in the USA and northern Europe, data on its prevalence in captured and wild populations, particularly in Europe, is scarce. Following an outbreak of gaffkaemia in a European lobster holding facility in South Wales (UK), a base-line survey was conducted for gaffkaemia in wild populations of European lobster Homarus gammarus around the coast of England and Wales. In addition, isolates recovered from the original outbreak and the survey were typed using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and compared with previously characterised isolates from the USA, UK and Canada. Locally caught H. gammarus were sampled at 30 sites from around the coast of England and Wales between March 2006 and October 2008. Results confirmed that the prevalence of gaffkaemia in populations of H. gammarus was low, with only 9 positive isolates recovered from 952 samples examined. PFGE analysis showed that the isolates from the outbreak investigation shared the same pulsotype as A. viridans var. homari isolates from the USA, Norway and Canada, as well as an isolate (NCIMB 1119) reportedly recovered from an outbreak of European lobsters in England in the 1960s. This confirms earlier studies that suggest virulent strains of A. viridans var. homari show very limited geographical or temporal genetic variation and were introduced into the UK with American lobsters H. americanus.

KEY WORDS: Lobster · Homarus gammarus · Homarus americanus · Bacteria · Aerococcus viridans

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Cite this article as: Stebbing PD, Pond MJ, Peeler E, Small HJ, Greenwood SJ, Verner-Jeffreys D (2012) Limited prevalance of gaffkaemia (Aerococcus viridans var. homari) isolated from wild-caught European lobsters Homarus gammarus in England and Wales. Dis Aquat Org 100:159-167.

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