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An assessment of the use of drug and non-drug interventions in the treatment of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis Fouquet, 1876, a protozoan parasite of freshwater fish

  • S. M. PICÓN-CAMACHO (a1), M. MARCOS-LOPEZ (a2), J. E. BRON (a1) and A. P. SHINN (a1)


Infection by the ciliate protozoan Ichthyophthirius multifiliis Fouquet, 1876 causes significant economic losses in freshwater aquaculture worldwide. Following the ban on the use of malachite green for treating food fish, there has been extensive research aimed at identifying suitable replacements. In this paper we critically assess drug and non-drug interventions, which have been tested for use or have been employed against this parasite and evaluate possibilities for their application in farm systems. Current treatments include the administration of formaldehyde, sodium chloride (salt), copper sulphate and potassium permanganate. However, purportedly more environmentally friendly drugs such as humic acid, potassium ferrate (VI), bronopol and the peracetic acid-based products have recently been tested and represent promising alternatives. Further investigation, is required to optimize the treatments and to establish precise protocols in order to minimize the quantity of drug employed whilst ensuring the most efficacious performance. At the same time, there needs to be a greater emphasis placed on the non-drug aspects of management strategies, including the use of non-chemical interventions focusing on the removal of free-swimming stages and tomocysts of I. multifiliis from farm culture systems. Use of such strategies provides the hope of more environmentally friendly alternatives for the control of I. multifiliis infections.


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*Corresponding author: Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, University of Southern Mississippi, Ocean Springs, MS 39564, USA. Tel: +228 818 8807. E-mail:


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