TitleMycobacterium haemophilum infections of zebrafish (Danio rerio) in research facilities.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsWhipps, CM, Dougan, ST, Kent, ML
JournalFEMS microbiology letters
Date Published2007 May

In May 2005, a disease outbreak was investigated at a zebrafish (Danio rerio) research facility experiencing severe losses. Mycobacterium haemophilum was isolated from these fish and the disease was subsequently recreated in experimentally infected zebrafish. Fish exhibited signs characteristic of mycobacteriosis, including granuloma formation and severe, diffuse, chronic inflammation. Bacteria were observed in multiple tissues, including the central nervous system. Biofilm samples from the outbreak facility were PCR positive for M. haemophilum, suggesting biofilms might act as a reservoir for infection. Zebrafish appear to be particularly vulnerable to M. haemophilum, and measures such as quarantine and treatment of incoming water should be implemented to minimize the likelihood of introduction of this bacterium to zebrafish research facilities. Zebrafish are already a well-established laboratory animal model for genetics, toxicology and disease, their susceptibility to M. haemophilum may make them useful for the study of this bacterium in the future.