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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 155:147-158 (2023)  -  DOI:

Temperature-associated virulence, species susceptibility and interspecies transmission of a Lactococcus petauri strain from rainbow trout

Eric Maxwell Littman1, Taylor I. Heckman1, Zeinab Yazdi1, Tresa Veek2, Kaveramma Mukkatira2, Mark Adkison2, Ashley Powell3, Alvin Camus3, Esteban Soto1,*

1Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
2California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670, USA
3Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Lactococcus petauri is an important emergent aquaculture pathogen in the USA. To better understand environmental conditions conducive to piscine lactococcosis and the susceptibility of fish species, laboratory-controlled challenges were used as models of infection. Rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss maintained at 13 or 18°C were challenged by intracoelomic (ICe) injection with 101, 103 or 105 colony-forming units per fish (CFU fish-1) and monitored for 21 d. At 13°C, trout experienced mortalities of 7, 7 and 0%, and bacterial persistence of 0, 20 and 0% in survivors, respectively. When exposed to the same bacterial doses, trout maintained at 18°C experienced mortalities of 59, 84 and 91%, and bacterial persistence of 60, 66 and 0% in survivors, confirming a significant role of temperature in the pathogenesis of lactococcosis. Additionally, the susceptibility of rainbow trout, Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, white sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus, Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus, and koi Cyprinus carpio to infection by L. petauri was compared using ICe challenges at 18°C. Trout and salmon experienced 96 and 56% cumulative mortality, respectively, and 17% of surviving salmon remained persistently infected. There were no mortalities in the other fish species, and no culturable bacteria recovered at the end of the challenge. However, when surviving fish were used in further cohabitation trials, naïve trout housed with previously exposed tilapia exhibited 6% mortality, demonstrating that non-salmonids can become sub-clinical carriers of this pathogen. The data obtained provide useful information regarding temperature-associated virulence, fish species susceptibility, and potential carrier transmission of L. petauri that can be used in the development of better management practices to protect against piscine lactococcosis.

KEY WORDS: Lactococcosis · California · Epizootic · Trout · Susceptibility · Virulence · Aquaculture

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Cite this article as: Littman EM, Heckman TI, Yazdi Z, Veek T and others (2023) Temperature-associated virulence, species susceptibility and interspecies transmission of a Lactococcus petauri strain from rainbow trout. Dis Aquat Org 155:147-158.

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