Submitted to: American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/9/2004
Publication Date: 2/20/2005
Citation: Glibert, P.M., Evans, J.J., Klesius, P.H., Shoemaker, C.A., Alexander, J.A., 2005. Comparison of two fish kill events involving human bacterial pathogens: influence of environmental stressors and harmful algae. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO). 2005 Aquatic Sciences Meeting. February 20-25, 2005, Salt Lake City Utah, USA.
Technical Abstract: Fish kills associated with bacterial pathogens have been reported throughout the world. We have studied two such events: one in Kuwait in 2001, in which several tons of adult mullet died as a result of infection by Streptococcus agalactiae, and one in a Chesapeake Bay tributary in 2003, in which the death of several thousand adult menhaden involved infections by Lactococcus lactis and Lactobacillus lactis. In each case, the fish kills occurred following an outbreak of a harmful algal bloom, Ceratium furca in Kuwait and Karlodinium micrum in the Chesapeake and reductions in dissolved oxygen. High nutrients also prevailed in each case, as a result of increasing eutrophication pressures and sewage input. Sampling in the Chesapeake tributary revealed bacterial presence in the fish a month later, but no mortality. We hypothesize that stress from harmful algae and low oxygen increases the susceptibility of fish to disease. Environmental conditions that promote pathogen occurrence, route of infection and fish susceptibility and possibility for zoonotic infection must be examined collectively to better understand the role of these pathogens in fish kill epizootics.