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Athens, GA, United States

Soto E.,Ross University School of Medicine | Berliner A.,Georgia Aquarium Inc. | Clauss T.,Georgia Aquarium Inc. | Sanchez S.,University of Georgia
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms | Year: 2013

This report details 2 cases of epitheliocystis in spotted eagle rays Aetobatus narinari associated with a novel Chlamydiales 16S rDNA signature sequence. Epitheliocystis is a common disease of variable severity affecting >50 species of wild and cultured freshwater and marine teleosts. Disease in elasmobranchs is rarely reported and descriptions are limited. Occurring in gill and skin epithelium, lesions are characterized by large hypertrophied cells with basophilic inclusions containing Gram-negative, chlamydia-like bacteria. Acute lethargy, labored respiration, and abnormal swimming developed in a captive spotted eagle ray following an uneventful quarantine period, and mild epitheliocystis lesions were found microscopically. Three months later, a second animal exhibited similar signs. A gill clip revealed myriad spherical bodies identical to the previous case, and treatment with chloramphenicol and oxytetracycline was initiated. Despite therapy, respiration became irregular and euthanasia was elected. Histologically, epitheliocystis inclusions up to 200 μm filled approximately 80% of lamellar troughs. Multifocal mild hypertrophy and hyperplasia of lamellar tips was accompanied by mild to moderate infiltrates of granulocytes and lymphocytes. Electron microscopy revealed a homogeneous population of elongate chlamydia-like bacterial forms similar in size and morphology to the primary long cells described in teleosts. Immunohistochemical staining with a polyclonal anti-chlamydial lipopolysaccharide antibody was positive. Sequence analysis of a unique 296 bp Chlamydiales signature sequence amplicon isolated from the rays showed greatest homology (85 to 87%) to 'Candidatus Piscichlamydia salmonis'. © Inter-Research 2013.

Camus A.,University of Georgia | Dill J.,University of Georgia | McDermott A.,Georgia Aquarium Inc. | Camus M.,University of Georgia | And 2 more authors.
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms | Year: 2016

Although elasmobranch species are increasingly displayed in public aquaria, knowledge of disease in wild and captive elasmobranchs, as well as the agents involved, remains limited, and descriptions are often incomplete. This report describes papillomatous skin lesions in a juvenile giant guitarfish Rhynchobatus djiddensis associated with intranuclear viral particles. Skin biopsies were collected from multiple, friable, raised, villonodular skin lesions affecting pigmented and non-pigmented skin of the caudal fin and ventrum, respectively. Microscopic examination revealed papillary proliferation of the epidermis, with widespread marked karyomegaly of squamous epithelial cells. In approximately 75% of nuclei, chromatin was marginated by one to multiple, large, amphophilic inclusions. Large numbers of unencapsulated, 75 nm, icosahedral viral particles were observed to form large arrays in affected nuclei using transmission electron microscopy. Based on intranuclear location, particle size and morphology, a consensus nested-PCR for adenovirus polymerase was attempted. However, no adenoviral gene sequence was amplified. The nature of the involved virus remains unknown and an ongoing area of investigation. Lesions regressed completely over a 6 mo period, during which time the animal showed no signs of systemic illness, and there has been no recrudescence for 6 mo following resolution. Two cohorts of similar age and in close contact with the case animal were unaffected. © 2016 Inter-Research.

Buck C.B.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Van Doorslaer K.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Peretti A.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Geoghegan E.M.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | And 20 more authors.
PLoS Pathogens | Year: 2016

Polyomaviruses are a family of DNA tumor viruses that are known to infect mammals and birds. To investigate the deeper evolutionary history of the family, we used a combination of viral metagenomics, bioinformatics, and structural modeling approaches to identify and characterize polyomavirus sequences associated with fish and arthropods. Analyses drawing upon the divergent new sequences indicate that polyomaviruses have been gradually co-evolving with their animal hosts for at least half a billion years. Phylogenetic analyses of individual polyomavirus genes suggest that some modern polyomavirus species arose after ancient recombination events involving distantly related polyomavirus lineages. The improved evolutionary model provides a useful platform for developing a more accurate taxonomic classification system for the viral family Polyomaviridae.

Marancik D.P.,University of Georgia | Dove A.D.,Georgia Aquarium Inc. | Camus A.C.,University of Georgia
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms | Year: 2012

Infestations of elasmobranchs by the marine leech Branchellion torpedinis can be problematic in aquaria and negatively affect host health. To better characterize the extent and pathogenesis of disease, 12 yellow stingrays Urobatis jamaicensis were infected with 1 or 3 leeches for 14 d. Leeches were associated with anorexia, extensive cutaneous ulceration, de - creased host packed cell volume (PCV) and serum total solids (TS), and mortality in 3 rays. Average decrease in host PCV positively correlated with ulcer size and parasite:host ratio. Average decrease in host serum TS positively correlated with parasite:host ratio. Blood chemistry and total white blood cell counts revealed no significant trends. Additional necropsy findings included gill and splenic pallor, pericardial edema, perirenal edema, and decreased hepatocellular lipid deposits. Microscopic evaluation of leeches demonstrated host erythrocytes and proteinaceous fluid within parasite intestines, confirming active blood feeding. Results indicate B. torpedinis has the potential to cause significant disease in elasmobranchs, including death in as few as 5 d, and identifies ulcer size and parasite:host ratio as risk factors for disease. Elucidation of this host-parasite interaction helps characterize host response to parasites and facilitate care of parasitized elasmobranchs in aquarium and wild settings. © Inter-Research 2012.

Georgia Aquarium Inc. | Date: 2003-05-30

Reference and non-fiction books in the area of marine plants and animals. Clothing, namely, t-shirts, shirts and hats. Toys, namely stuffed animals, board games, puzzles and plastic figurines. Entertainment services in the nature of a public aquarium.

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