A long-term epidemiological study of Cryptosporidium molnari in aquacultured European sea bass (ESB) and gilthead sea bream (GSB) was performed in different types of facilities on the Atlantic, Cantabric, and Mediterranean coasts. Four types of studies were carried out. In study A, fish raised from juveniles to marketable size (ongrowing stage) were periodically sampled in three different types of cultures. Studies B and C focused on hatchery and nursery facilities. In study D, occasional samplings were performed during mortality or morbidity outbreaks. As a general trend, C. molnari was more prevalent in GSB than in ESB. Data on the distribution pattern of C. molnari in total sampled GSB (studies A, B, and B) had a variance higher than the mean (overdispersion). In GSB (study A), the type of ongrowing system (sea cages, earth ponds, or indoor tanks) was found to have no significant effect. There was a significant relationship between the presence of the parasite and both fish weight and season. The highest infection values were recorded in spring. Prevalence and intensity had convex weight profiles, with a peak in 30- to 100-g fish. In study D, the prevalence of infection was higher in fish recently introduced in sea cages and in preongrowing systems. In studies B and C, fish were almost never infected before entering the postlarval and nursery facilities. The parasite seems to enter the host mainly through the water in production steps with less stringent water treatment. Recirculation systems and fish cannibalism could contribute to oocyst concentration and dispersion in aquaculture facilities.
|Journal||Applied and Environmental Microbiology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2005|