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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 86:93-106 (2009)  -  DOI:

Streptococcosis in farmed Litopenaeus vannamei: a new emerging bacterial disease of penaeid shrimp

Ken W. Hasson*, Ernesto Matheu Wyld, Yaping Fan, Sonia W. Lingsweiller, Stephanie J. Weaver, Jinling Cheng, Patricia W. Varner

Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab, 1 Sippel Rd, College Station, Texas 77843, USA

ABSTRACT: Presumptive systemic streptococcal infections were detected histologically in farmed Litopenaeus vannamei juveniles submitted from a Latin American country and the bacteria isolated. Characterization work demonstrated that the Gram-positive cocci form chains, grow aerobically and anaerobically, are oxidase- and catalase-negative, non-hemolytic, non-motile, Lancefield Group B positive and PCR positive when amplified with a universal streptococcal primer set. Differing Streptococcus identifications were obtained using API 20 Strep and Biolog systems, the former identifying the isolate as S. uberis and the latter as S. parauberis. Injection of specific pathogen-free (SPF) L. vannamei with the bacteria resulted in 100% mortality by 3 d post-injection with successful recovery of the agent from moribund test shrimp hemolymph samples. The recovered isolate was used in per os and waterborne exposure studies of SPF L. vannamei with mortalities ranging from 40 to 100% and 80 to 100%, respectively. Histologic analysis of 5 to 8 moribund shrimp from each exposure method demonstrated that all contained a severe bacteremia characterized by numerous free cocci within the hemolymph and aggregates of vacuolated hemocytes with notable intravacuolar cocci. This unique lesion type was most pronounced within the lymphoid organ and considered pathodiagnostic for this disease. Experimentally induced lesions were identical to those in naturally infected farmed shrimp and the Streptococcus sp. responsible was re-isolated, fulfilling Koch’s postulates. Five freeze/thaw cycles of 10 experimentally infected shrimp were performed over a 2 mo period and the bacteria successfully cultured from all shrimp at each interval. These collective findings describe the first reported case of streptococcosis in marine penaeid shrimp in the Western Hemisphere and indicate that the agent may be disseminated via live or frozen infected shrimp.

KEY WORDS: Streptococcus · Streptococcosis · Penaeid shrimp · Koch’s postulates · Litopenaeus vannamei · Bacteremia

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Cite this article as: Hasson KW, Wyld EM, Fan Y, Lingsweiller SW, Weaver SJ, Cheng J, Varner PW (2009) Streptococcosis in farmed Litopenaeus vannamei: a new emerging bacterial disease of penaeid shrimp. Dis Aquat Org 86:93-106.

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