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Impact and control of protozoan parasites in maricultured fishes



Aquaculture, including both freshwater and marine production, has on a world scale exhibited one of the highest growth rates within animal protein production during recent decades and is expected to expand further at the same rate within the next 10 years. Control of diseases is one of the most prominent challenges if this production goal is to be reached. Apart from viral, bacterial, fungal and metazoan infections it has been documented that protozoan parasites affect health and welfare and thereby production of fish in marine aquaculture. Representatives within the main protozoan groups such as amoebae, dinoflagellates, kinetoplastid flagellates, diplomonadid flagellates, apicomplexans, microsporidians and ciliates have been shown to cause severe morbidity and mortality among farmed fish. Well studied examples are Neoparamoeba perurans, Amyloodinium ocellatum, Spironucleus salmonicida, Ichthyobodo necator, Cryptobia salmositica, Loma salmonae, Cryptocaryon irritans, Miamiensis avidus and Trichodina jadranica. The present report provides details on the parasites’ biology and impact on productivity and evaluates tools for diagnosis, control and management. Special emphasis is placed on antiprotozoan immune responses in fish and a strategy for development of vaccines is presented.


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* Corresponding author: Laboratory of Aquatic Pathobiology, Section of Biomedicine, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Stigbøjlen 7, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C., Denmark. Tel: +45-35332700. Fax: +45-35332755. E-mail:


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