Saturday 21 October 2017

Bacterial infection kills 125 000 Salmon at Scottish Fish farms.

Around 125 000 Salmon have died following an outbreak of the Bacterium Pasteurella skyensis at two Fish farms in Loch Erisort on the island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland since August 2017. The outbreak has claimed the lives of about 500 tonnes of Fish at the Marine Harvest operated farms, prompting complaints from local residents about the scent of decaying Fish.

A Salmon farm on Loch Erisort. WDC.

Pasteurella skyensis is a is a Gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic (i.e. capable of using oxygen, but not needing it), non-motile, rod-shaped, Gammaproteobacteria, related to other pathogenic Bacteria such as Vibrio cholerae (Cholera), Yersinia pestis (Plague) and Esherchia coli (food poisoning), first described in 2002 from farmed Salmon in Scotland. Fish infected with the disease become lethargic and lose their apatite, and frequently die. The disease spreads rapidly in Salmon farms, where the Fish are kept at far higher density than they would occur at in nature. 

Other species of Pasteurella cause infections in Cattle, Sheep, Cats, Dogs, Horses, Rabbits, Chickens, Ferrets, Deer, Sealions, Pigs, Geese, Buffalo, Tortoises, and Humans. Many of these Bacteria are part of the natural flora of the mouths of a range of animals, including domestic Cats and Dogs. Most Pasteurella infections are associated with animal bites, and can be treated fairly easily, but others cause more serious problems including hemorrhagic fevers in some domestic animals and a form of Cholera in Birds.

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