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Risk of Importing Zoonotic Diseases through Infected Ornamental Fish

Risk of Importing Zoonotic Diseases through Infected Ornamental Fish

Zafar Iqbal*, Farah Ansar, Zil-e-Huma

Fish Disease and Health Management Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of the Punjab, Quaid-i-Azam Campus, Lahore. Pakistan.

*Corresponding author: Zafar Iqbal



Over last ten years a total of 1300 imported ornamental fish,belonging to 10 different species were examined for parasitic, fungal and bacterial infection. The fish species studied were; Carassius auratus and its six varieties (shubunkin, comet, black moor, oranda, double tail and fantail); molly Poeciliasphenops; platy Xiphophorus maculates; sword tail Xiphophorus helleri; guppy Poecilia reticulata; tiger oscar Astronotus ocellatus; koi carp Cyprinus carpio; giant gourami Osphronemus goramy; blue line shark Pangasianodon hypophthalmus and silver shark Balanitiocheilos melanopterus. The health status of these fishes ranged from being healthy, moribund and infected. The parasites observed from these fish were: seven protozoans species (Chilodonella sp, Trichodina sp; Ichthyobodo sp. Epistylis sp. Tetrahymena sp. Ichthyophthirius multifiliis; Piscinoodinium pillulare;); three monogeneans species including (Dactylogyrus extensus, D. vastator; Gyrodactylus turnbulli,); one digenean (Cryptocotyle sp.), two nematode (Capillaria sp., Camallanus sp.); two crustaceans (Argulus foliaceus and Lernaea cyprinacea,), one mollusca (Glochdium). The pathogenic fungal genera isolated were: Aspergillus, Alternaria, Penicillium, Mucor. Blastomyces, Rhizopus and Fusarium. Ten bacterial genera were also isolated; Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Acinetobacter, Bacillus, Moraxella, Lactobacillus, Staphylococcus,. Carnobacterium. There has not been a single case of topically acquired infection among students, laboratory staff and the author throughout the whole period due to contact with these fish. One reason for this is the use of safety measures and precautions by the concerned; such as use of disposable gloves, thorough hand washing, using sterilized equipment, keeping work place clean and disinfecting it regularly. The possibility of isolation of fewer pathogenic agents in this study cannot be ruled out. There has not been any report of zoonotic infection in ornamental fish handlers in Lahore. There is one message that it should be assumed that zoonotic organisms are always present and safety measures should be used to limit the spread of these infections. Potential risk of zoonotic infections through contact with ornamental fish is discussed.

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Punjab University Journal of Zoology


Vol.38, Iss. 1, Pages 01-135


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