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Dis Aquat Organ. 2010 Oct 26;92(1):51-8. doi: 10.3354/dao02267.

Novel horizontal transmission route for Enteromyxum leei (Myxozoa) by anal intubation of gilthead sea bream Sparus aurata.

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Instituto de Acuicultura de Torre de la Sal, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Torre de la Sal s/n, 12595 Ribera de Cabanes, Castellón, Spain.


The aim of the present study was to determine whether Enteromyxum leei, one of the most threatening parasitic diseases in Mediterranean fish culture, could be transmitted by peranal intubation in gilthead sea bream Sparus aurata L. Fish were inoculated either orally or anally with intestinal scrapings of infected fish in 3 trials. Oral transmission failed, but the parasite was efficiently and quickly transmitted peranally. Prevalence of infection was 100% at 60 d post inoculation (p.i.) in Trial 1 under high summer temperature (22 to 25 degrees C; fish weight = 187.1 g), and 85.7% in just 15 d p.i. in Trial 3 using smaller fish (127.5 g) at autumn temperature (19 to 22 degrees C). In Trial 2, prevalence reached 60% at 60 d p.i. in the group reared at constant temperature (18 degrees C), whereas no fish was infected in the group that was kept at low winter temperature (11 to 12 degrees C), although infection appeared (46.1% at 216 d p.i.) when temperature increased in spring. The arrested development at low temperature has important epidemiological consequences, as fish giving false negative results in winter can act as reservoirs of the parasite. Histopathological examination showed a posterior-anterior intestinal gradient in the progression of the infection, in terms of both intensity and parasite maturation. Thus, per-anal intubation provides a very uniform, reliable and faster mode of transmission of E. leei than the commonly used transmission methods (cohabitation, exposure to infected effluent and oral inoculation), which require long exposure times or give variable and unpredictable results.

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