Aeromonas salmonicida, “Furunculosis”

Aeromonas salmonicida, “Furunculosis”

What is it?

Aeromonas salmonicida is a bacterium that causes the disease commonly referred to as “furunculosis” in fish. This disease can cause high mortality, particularly in salmon/trout and koi. It is a pathogen of concern for many state and international fish health regulatory authorities, and it is common to test fish for this bacterium as part of export certification testing.

How do I know if my fish have Aeromonas salmonicida?

The most well-known clinical sign of this disease is severe, hemorrhagic skin ulcers commonly but mistakenly referred to as “furuncles” (N.B. “furunculosis” is technically a term used to describe inflamed hair follicles, which fish do not have). Other presentations can range from severe mortality caused by bacterial sepsis (especially during warmer temperatures) to chronic infection with low mortality and few clinical signs. Some fish can become latently infected with no signs of disease.

Testing Methods

Certification Testing: Because some fish can be infected with Aeromonas salmonicida but show no clinical signs, fish health regulators often require testing for this bacterium. The most common screening test is bacterial culture. WADDL offers a screening test for Aeromonas salmonicida that follows American Fisheries Society-Fish Health Sections Blue Book testing methods to meet fish health regulators’ requirements.

Diagnostic Testing: Necropsy in conjunction with diagnostic bacterial cultures and histopathology are the most common tests used to diagnose furunculosis in fish. See the “Aquatic Species: Diagnostic Testing” resource for information about how to select and submit appropriate samples for diagnostic testing at WADDL.

How can I get more information about certification and diagnostic testing for Aeromonas salmonicida?

For more information about submitting fish for Aeromonas salmonicida testing at WADDL, please contact us