Reef Clams with Foreign Disease
Reef Clams with Foreign Disease Sold for Reef Aquariums
Popular Giant Blue Clams (Tridacnids) imported from Vietnam have been found to carry to carry a disease (Perkinsus olseni) as per University of Florida Studies. These clams are widely imported and distributed though out the US and the World.
In findings that may impact the reef clam industry as well as international trade, a University of Florida veterinary pathologist recently discovered Perkinsus olseni, an internationally reportable foreign pathogen, in aqua-cultured clams imported from Vietnam.
While not believed to be a threat to human health or other reef aquarium species, the pathogen’s presence concerns scientists as well as aquaculture industry representatives and points out the largely unregulated environment in which the importation of aquacultured reef clams from Asia occurs.
“I had 30 clams in my lab as part of a student research project,” said Barbara Sheppard, a clinical associate professor of pathology at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. “Then they started looking sickly, and within four months, all of them were dead.”
As a pathologist, Sheppard was intrigued. She began investigating the cause of death by freezing tissues, putting them into formalin and conducting histopathology and DNA tests in her laboratory. Her findings, which will appear in an upcoming issue of Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, showed the presence of Perkinsus olseni along with a new species of Perkinsus that has yet to be characterized.
“This is an important finding,” said Ralph Elston, president of AquaTechnics, a Carlsborg, Wash.-based company that provides veterinary, laboratory and environmental assessment services to the shellfish industry. “It indicates the potential risk of the spread of animal disease when health monitoring is not in place to control such risks.”
“This is not a zoonotic disease, transmissible to people,” Sheppard said. “No one is going to get sick from this, as far as we know. The problem here is economic and international trade. We know that Perkinsus is a pathogen of aquatic shellfish, and the reason it is so important is that it makes animals very vulnerable to dying when the weather gets hot or when they get stressed in some other way.”
In my opinion, short of not importing or selling these clams, the right thing to do is to NEVER dispose of these clams in local waters, whether alive or dead.
|Recommended Aquatic Sites
Premier Articles include Aquarium Lighting,
Aquarium Chemistry; Calcium & more, etc.
AQUARIUM AND POND ANSWERS with articles such as RO, Soft Water for Aquarium, PUR vs PAR in Aquarium Lighting or Aquarium Silicone Applications