Accurate detection of Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida (the cause of furunculosis disease) in covertly infected salmonids is difficult and is a cause of concern for those involved in fish health inspection and resource management programs. In this study, we examined populations of brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis, Atlantic salmon Salmo salar, and lake trout Salvelinus namaycush that previously sustained natural episodes of furunculosis. Consequently, the sampled fish were presumed to harbor latent infections. Mucus, gill, liver, kidney, heart, spleen, and intestine samples (N = 100 fish per group sampled) were processed and examined by (1) direct dilution counts and (2) quadrant streaking after a 48-h pre-enrichment in trypticase soy broth (TSB). Another subsample of fish from each group was then subjected to stress-inducible furunculosis tests. Stress tests detected A. salmonicida in three of four groups of fish that were examined whereas the pathogen was detected in only two of the groups analyzed with culture-based assays. Although pre-enrichment in TSB enhanced detection within internal sampling sites including the liver, heart, spleen, and kidney, enrichment did not enhance detection from mucus, gill, or intestinal samples.
Additional publication details
Differences in detection of Aeromonas salmonicida in covertly infected salmonid fishes by the stress-inducible furunculosis test and culture-based assays