Lactococcosis in Reared Fish in Brazil and Control Strategies


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Lactococcus garvieae is a Gram positive bacterium responsible for diseases in humans, domestic animals, and fish. This bacterium is an emerging pathogen that could pose a worldwide problem for fish farming, particularly in intensive culture systems. Disease outbreaks caused by L. garvieae have been described in freshwater and marine fish species in America, Europe, Asia and Oceania [3], although L. garvieae has also been isolated from tropical fish such as Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus (L.) and spotted sorubim, Pseudoplatystoma corruscans (Spix & Agassiz) in Brazil. The authors are however not aware of any clinical information concerning these cases and, to the best of our knowledge, there are no reports of L. garvieae outbreaks in other cultured tropical fish species in Brazil.

Despite the increasing number of studies on the diagnosis of bacterial agents in recent years, there are still a few alternatives available to control bacterial infections in fish in Brazil. Regarding methods of disease control, the lack of studies is even greater, since there are only two antimicrobials legalized in Brazil, Florfenicol, and Oxytetracycline, according to the Compendium of Veterinary Products, and a single commercial vaccine for prevention of Streptococcus agalactiae. More studies for strategic control of these diseases are required for the generation and availability of products certified by the competent Brazilian official public agencies, which are still scarce in the country.

L. garvieae is an emerging pathogen that infects both barred sorubim and hybrid sorubim in Brazil. We recommend that future studies should focus on the genetic diversity of L. garvieae as well as the development of prophylactics, to control this disease in Brazilian farms. Bacterial diseases are common in aquatic systems, but adequate management practices and early diagnosis can prevent mortality. Given the economic and health importance of this pathogen, it is necessary to have better sanitary monitoring in these breeding places, especially in the detection of the pathogen. In addition, it is fundamental to adopt strategies to control the disease in Brazil, especially through the vaccination of fish, according to what is already practiced in other producing countries. The use of vaccines, while representing more cost to producers, maybe an economically advantageous solution, especially considering that, in addition to reducing mortality, fish will be able to better express their growth potential. We emphasize the need for a higher number of studies for generation and availability of preventives and curatives products, which are still scarce in the country, certified by the competent Brazilian official public agencies, as alternative to control these bacteriosis.