Serological identification of typical Aeromonas salmonicida

Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida requires at least 48 h incubation to produce colonies suitable for morphological and biochemical identification and, as a result, diagnosis of furunculosis may take up to 1 week. This often represents an unacceptable time-lag for the fish farmer or veterinarian, who needs to make rapid decisions on the treatment and fate of infected fish. Rapid identification methods that could be applied directly to colonies after 48 h have the potential to overcome the current delays in identifying presumptive A. salmonicida. Bernoth and Artz (1989) suggested that serological tests may be more sensitive than cultural isolation for the detection of A. salmonicida in fish tissue. A comprehensive list of studies on the development of serological identification tests for typical A. salmonicida has been presented by Bernoth (1997b). She also provides a discussion of the technical difficulties that may be encountered, such as heterogeneity of cell surface of the target species and cross-reactivity with bacteria of other species or genera that may also be isolated. While there remain considerable difficulties in applying these tests in situ in infected tissue, they can facilitate more rapid confirmation of presumptive A. salmonicida subsp. salmonicida colonies on agar plates (Bernoth, 1997b).

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