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Arch Microbiol. 2006 Jun;185(5):383-92. Epub 2006 Apr 14.

Francisella sp. (Family Francisellaceae) causing mortality in Norwegian cod (Gadus morhua) farming.

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Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Thormohlensgt 55, 5020 Bergen, Norway.


In 2004, a new disease was detected in cod (Gadus morhua) in western Norway. Affected cod had white granulomas in the visceral organs and skin. A species of Francisella was isolated on blood agar plates from moribund cod. The bacterium could be grown at temperatures ranging from 6 to 22 degrees C, but did not grow at 37 degrees C. Challenge experiments showed that Francisella sp. was the cause for the new disease. The 16S rDNA gene sequence from Francisella sp. showed 99.17% similarity to F. philomiragia, and the 16S-23S ribosomal RNA intergenic spacer (249 nt), shows a similarity with that from Francisella isolated from tilapia and F. tularensis of 96.8 and 35.9%, respectively. The 23S sequence is more similar to F. tularensis, 97.7% (2,862 nt), compared to the tilapia isolate 96.8% (2,131 nt). The partial putative outer membrane protein (FopA) sequence (781 nt) from Francisella sp. shows a similarity with that from F. tularensis and F. philomiragia of 77.3 and 98.2%, respectively. Based on sequence data, culturing temperatures and pathogenicity for cod, it is suggested that this Francisella sp. from cod could be a new species of Francisella, Family Francisellaceae.

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