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Potentially human‐virulent Vibrio vulnificus isolates from diseased great pompano (Trachinotus goodei)

Gibello, Alicia, Vela, Ana Isabel, Martínez‐Nevado, Eva, Rodriguez‐Bertos, Antonio, Casamayor, Almudena, García, Javier, Domínguez, Lucas, Montoto, Pablo, Fernández‐Garayzábal, Jose Francisco, Amaro, Carmen
Transboundary and emerging diseases 2019 v.66 no.4 pp. 1765-1770
DNA, Trachinotus, Vibrio vulnificus, animal pathogens, antibacterial properties, antibiotic resistance, aquaculture industry, blood serum, emerging diseases, fish, genes, genetic markers, human health, humans, livestock, matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization mass spectrometry, mortality, pathovars, phenotype, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, risk, serotypes, virulence, zoos
Vibrio vulnificus is an opportunistic human pathogen responsible for the majority of seafood‐associated deaths worldwide and is also a relevant fish pathogen for the aquaculture industry. In addition to infections in aquatic livestock, V. vulnificus also represents a risk to aquarium animals. For the first time, this work describes an important mortality outbreak in Trachinotus goodei in a zoo aquarium, with the isolation of Vibrio vulnificus (Vv) from the internal organs of the diseased fish. The isolates were identified by MALDI‐TOF MS, serotyped and characterized by pulsed‐field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Although the isolates from great pompanos did not belong to pathovar piscis (formerly biotype 2) or to any of the fish‐related serovars, they all had identical phenotypes, antimicrobial susceptibility profiles and PFGE patterns, which together with their isolation in pure culture from internal organs is strongly indicative of their clinical significance. Moreover, Vv isolates harboured important genetic markers of human virulence potential: they had the clinical variant of the vcg gene, gave the 338 bp DNA amplification product of the pilF gene and resisted the bactericidal activity of human serum. All these results strongly suggest that these Vv isolates should be considered potentially virulent for humans. These results extend the range of fish species affected by V. vulnificus, confirm the threat that this pathogen represents to aquatic animals and highlight the risk that this bacterial pathogen poses to human health.