Furunculosis, or as it has been more appropiately termed, "fish septicemia," is a disease primarily affecting salmon and trout. It is caused by the invasion and growth of Bacterium salmonicida Emmerich and Weibel, a Gram negative, non-spore forming, diplobacterium belonging to the family Bacteriaceae Cohn. After gaining entrance to the host, presumably by way of the digestive tract, the organism is spread by the blood stream and produces focal necrosis and subsequent liquefaction throughout the tissues. The more conspicuous gross lesions are those of the body musculature, characterized by the formation of deep seated "boils" or "bloody blotches"—blisters filled with liquefied muscle tissue and blood. Under favorable conditions, the muscle lesions enlarge rapidly and eventually rupture through the skin producing a characteristic, ragged, deep, undermining type of ulcer. Although the muscle lesions are most conspicuous, essentially the same progressive necrosis and liquefaction are to be found throughout the internal organs, particularly in the spleen and kidneys. The host has no adequate defense mechanism against this disease and no verified recovery from furunculosis has ever been recorded. Cases may be arrested by low water temperatures or other adverse factors, only to break out with renewed vigor when conditions again become favorable. The reader is referred to Plehn, Davis, Williamson, and Duff and Stewart for a more complete description of furunculosis.
Additional publication details
Furunculosis in wild trout
American Society of Icthyologists and Herpetologists