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Effect of handling stress on susceptibility of channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus to Ichthyophthirius multifiliis and channel catfish virus infection

Davis, K.B., Griffin, B.R., Gray, W.L.
Aquaculture 2002 v.214 no.1/4 pp. 55-66
stocking rate, Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, bioassays, disease resistance, Ictalurid herpesvirus 1, mortality, infection
A quantitative bioassay employing immersion exposure was developed for the infection of channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus with the protozoan parasite Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, commonly referred to as ich. This bioassay as well as waterborne challenge of channel catfish with channel catfish virus (CCV) was used to investigate the effect of confinement stress on the sensitivity of the fish to exposure of these pathogens. Infestation by ich was shown to be proportional to the density of infective theronts in the exposure tank and low-water crowding stress was shown to increase susceptibility of catfish to infection. Mortality from CCV was related to the virus exposure dose; however, low-water crowding stress did not affect mortality. Increased susceptibility, due to crowding stress of naive channel catfish to I. multifiliis but not to CCV, suggests a difference in the defence mechanisms. Stress-induced increased susceptibility to I. multifiliis may be due to a suppression of an innate protection mechanism. The lack of effect of stress on CCV mortality may be due to protection afforded by an inducible system which was not affected by the stressor, or the lethal effects of the virus were too fast for the stress to change susceptibility in fish exposed to CCV for the first time.