Journal of aquatic animal health

Flavobacterium psychrophilum Infections in Salmonid Broodstock and Hatchery-Propagated Stocks of the Great Lakes Basin.

PMID 26636411


Bacterial coldwater disease (BCWD), caused by Flavobacterium psychrophilum, threatens wild and propagated salmonids worldwide and leads to substantial economic losses. In addition to being horizontally transmitted, F. psychrophilum can be passed from infected parents to their progeny, furthering the negative impacts of this pathogen. In Michigan, both feral and captive salmonid broodstocks are the gamete sources used in fishery propagation efforts. A 5-year study was initiated to follow the prevalence of systemic F. psychrophilum infections in feral broodstocks of four species (steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss [potadromous Rainbow Trout]; Coho Salmon O. kisutch; Chinook Salmon O. tshawytscha; and Atlantic Salmon Salmo salar) residing in three Great Lakes watersheds. Additionally, captive broodstocks of four species (Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout Salmo trutta, Lake Trout Salvelinus namaycush, and Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis) maintained at two facilities were assessed for the presence of F. psychrophilum. The resultant offspring from each broodstock population were sampled for F. psychrophilum infections multiple times throughout hatchery residency. Using selective flavobacterial culture and PCR confirmation, F. psychrophilum was detected in all broodstocks except the captive Lake Trout and Brook Trout. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that among the infected feral broodstocks, Chinook Salmon from the Lake Michigan watershed had the highest prevalence of systemic F. psychrophilum infection (mean = 63.2%). Among the captive broodstocks, the Gilchrist Creek strain of Brown Trout had the highest infection prevalence (mean = 5%). Collectively, the captive broodstocks were found to have significantly lower infection prevalence than the feral broodstocks. Despite the high prevalence of systemic F. psychrophilum infections in many broodstock populations, the bacterium was rarely detected in their progeny during hatchery rearing. However, heavy losses associated with clinical BCWD outbreaks did occur. Collectively, our results reinforce that BCWD continues to threaten Great Lakes basin salmonids.

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