U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


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Cunningham, F.L., M.M. Jubirt, K.C. Hanson-Dorr, L. Ford, P. Fioranelli, and L.A. Hanson. 2018.Potential of double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus), American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), and wood storks (Mycteria americana) to transmit a hypervirulent strain of Aeromonas hydrophila between channel catfish culture ponds. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 54(3):548-552. doi: 10.7589/2017-06-128


U.S. government work.


Aeromonas hydrophila is a Gramnegative bacterium ubiquitous to freshwater and brackish aquatic environments that can cause disease in fish, humans, reptiles, and birds. Recent severe outbreaks of disease in commercial channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) aquaculture ponds have been associated with a hypervirulent Aeromonas hydrophila strain (VAH) that is genetically distinct from less virulent strains. The epidemiology of this disease has not been determined. Given that research has shown that Great Egrets (Ardea alba) can shed viable hypervirulent A. hydrophila after consuming diseased fish, we hypothesized that Doublecrested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus), American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), and Wood Storks (Mycteria americana) could also serve as a reservoir for VAH and spread the pathogen during predation of fish in uninfected catfish ponds. All three species, when fed VAH-infected catfish, shed viable VAH in their feces, demonstrating their potential to spread VAH.

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