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Chlamydial infections of fish: diverse pathogens and emerging causes of disease in aquaculture species

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 05:25 authored by Megan DeanMegan Dean, Polkinghorne, A, Barbara NowakBarbara Nowak
Chlamydial infections of fish are emerging as an important cause of disease in new and established aquaculture industries. To date, epitheliocystis, a skin and gill disease associated with infection by these obligate intracellular pathogens, has been described in over 90 fish species, including hosts from marine and fresh water environments. Aided by advances in molecular detection and typing, recent years have seen an explosion in the description of these epitheliocystis-related chlamydial pathogens of fish, significantly broadening our knowledge of the genetic diversity of the order Chlamydiales. Remarkably, in most cases, it seems that each new piscine host studied has revealed the presence of a phylogenetically unique and novel chlamydial pathogen, providing researchers with a fascinating opportunity to understand the origin, evolution and adaptation of their traditional terrestrial chlamydial relatives. Despite the advances in this area, much still needs to be learnt about the epidemiology of chlamydial infections in fish if these pathogens are to be controlled in farmed environments. The lack of in vitro methods for culturing of chlamydial pathogens of fish is a major hindrance to this field. This review provides an update on our current knowledge of the taxonomy and diversity of chlamydial pathogens of fish, discusses the impact of these infections on the health, and highlights further areas of research required to understand the biology and epidemiology of this important emerging group of fish pathogens of aquaculture species.


Publication title

Veterinary Microbiology










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Elsevier Science Bv

Place of publication

Po Box 211, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1000 Ae

Rights statement

Copyright 2014 Elsevier

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Aquaculture fin fish (excl. tuna)

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