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Review article

Emerging vibriosis of Mediterranean fish caused by the bacterial species Vibrio harveyi: an overview

Ivana Giovanna Zupičić ; Hrvatski veterinarski institut Zagreb, Hrvatska
Željko Pavlinec ; Hrvatski veterinarski institut Zagreb, Hrvatska
Dražen Oraić ; Hrvatski veterinarski institut Zagreb, Hrvatska
Snježana Zrnčić ; Hrvatski veterinarski institut Zagreb, Hrvatska

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Bacteria of the genus Vibrio spp. family Vibrionaceae are the most common causative agents of disease in aquatic animals. Economically, the members of the Harvey clade, with eleven closely related bacterial species, are the most important representatives of the genus Vibrio. V. harvey is commonly found in the marine environment and is a normal part of the microflora of aquatic animals. Numerous strains are described as pathogens for crustaceans and molluscs. The prevalence of infection with V. harvey is increasing and affecting more Mediterranean fish species, especially in the summer months. It is a Gram-negative, halophilic, aerobic or facultatively anaerobic bacteria. In general, it does not have zoonotic potential, though cases of human infection caused by this bacterium have been described. Some strains are highly pathogenic while others are considered opportunistic pathogens. The main virulence factors are bacterial flagellum, lytic enzymes, capsule, siderophores, hydrophobic surface antigens and its ability to adhere and infect epithelial host cells. Production of biofilm is a mechanism of antibiotic resistance, and the ability of the bacteria to extract iron from host cells is crucial for their survival. The intracellular system allows intercellular communication between bacteria. Clinical signs are similar to other bacterial infections in fish, usually starting with lethargy and loss of appetite. V. harveyi has an innate resistance to certain antibiotics. Recently, bacteriophage therapy has been developed and is showing promising results. Vaccination is one of the most effective ways of preventing disease, reducing losses and reducing antibiotic use. Good manufacturing practice and application of biosecurity measures are very important to minimizing the risk of introducing an infectious disease and its spread to animals within a facility. More often, infections occur with highly pathogenic emergent strains of V. harvey. Since V. harvey can be extracted from the environment, marine organisms and the digestive tract of healthy individuals, it is evident that there are different strains of the same bacterial species and it is necessary to define the differences between non- pathogenic and pathogenic strains.


V. Harveyi, bacteria, treatment, prophylaxis

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