New study on detection of fish TB

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Slovenian scientists have reported on a study of their attempts to detect the presence of fish TB in aquarium fish.

The team of biologists from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, analysed 35 infected aquarium fish using several different methods, including Ziehl-Neelsen staining; Polymerase Chain Reaction Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (PCR-RFLP); cultivation and Hain Life Science's GenoType Mycobacterium assay.

The analyses managed to detect the presence of the mycobacteria in 29 of the 35 fish analysed.

The findings showed that seven were infected by Mycobacterium fortuitum; six were infected by M. gordonae; six by M. marinum; three by M. chelonae and one by M. peregrinum. Five of them were infected by unidentifiable species of mycobacteria and one was probably a combination of two species.

Mycobacteria is one of the few fish diseases which can be harmful to humans. PFK knows of a few fishkeepers, mainly those who work in the fish industry, who have contracted fish TB from handling infected fish.

Some experts in the UK aquarium trade believe that Mycobacteria infections are becoming more common in imported fish.

For more details on the study see the paper: Pate M, Jencic V, Zolnir-Dovc M, Ocepek M (2005) - Detection of mycobacteria in aquarium fish in Slovenia by culture and molecular methods. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, Apr 6: 64, 29-35.