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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    Serotype distribution, virulence and antibiotic resistance of Streptococcus agalactiae isolated from cultured tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) in Lake Volta, Ghana

    Samuel Duodu*, Angela N. A. Ayiku, Abigail A. Adelani, Derrick A. Daah, Enock K. Amoako, Mona D. Jansen, Kofitsyo S. Cudjoe

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Streptococcus agalactiae infection is one of the major factors limiting the expansion of tilapia farming globally. In this study, we investigated the serotype distribution, virulence and antimicrobial resistance of S. agalactiae isolates from tilapia farmed in Lake Volta, Ghana. Isolates from 300 moribund fish were characterised by Gram staining, MALDI-TOF/MS and 16S rRNA sequencing. Serotype identification was based on multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of the capsular polysaccharide (cps) genes. Detection of virulence genes (cfb, fbsA and cspA) and histopathology were used to infer the pathogenicity of the isolates. The susceptibility of isolates to antibiotics was tested using the Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion assay. All 32 isolates identified as S. agalactiae were of serotype Ia. This was notably different from isolates previously collected from the farms in 2017, which belonged to serotype Ib, suggesting a possible serotype replacement. The prevalence of the pathogen was related to the scale of farm operation, with large scale farms showing higher S. agalactiae positivity. Data from histopathological analysis and PCR amplification of targeted virulence genes confirmed the virulence potential and ability of the isolates to cause systemic infection in tilapia. Except for gentamicin, the majority of the isolates were less resistant to the tested antibiotics. All isolates were fully sensitive to oxytetracycline, erythromycin, florfenicol, enrofloxacin, ampicillin and amoxicillin. This study has improved our understanding of the specific S. agalactiae serotypes circulating on the Volta Lake and demonstrates the need for continuous monitoring to guide the use of antimicrobials and vaccines against streptococcal infections in Ghanaian aquaculture systems.