ABSTRACT

Discus (Symphysodon spp.) are costly and prized specimens in the international ornamental fish trade. The majority of discus submitted to the Aquatic Animal Health Unit at the University of the West Indies School of Veterinary Medicine for necropsy between September 2010 and September 2015 had lesions consistent with Cryptobia iubilans infection, thus prompting this study. To determine the prevalence of the flagellated gastrointestinal protozoan C. iubilans in discus fish, 32 discus were sourced from 10 suppliers, including breeders, importers, and hobbyists across Trinidad. Fish were euthanized, and the internal organs, particularly the stomach and intestine, were observed under a light microscope for characteristic granulomatous lesions and/or live C. iubilans parasites. All wet-mount slides on which granulomas were observed were also Ziehl-Neelsen acid-fast stained to presumptively exclude the presence of Mycobacterium spp., the main differential when diagnosing C. iubilans–associated granulomatous gastritis or to determine the presence of dual infections. Further histological analyses were performed on stomach and intestinal sections, and transmission electron microscopy was used to confirm the parasite in stomach sections. The prevalence of C. iubilans infection was found to be 81.3%, and the prevalence of presumptive dual infections with Mycobacterium spp. was found to be 21.9%. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first documented study of C. iubilans infections in the wider Caribbean region.

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