Bacterial zoonotic agents of fish

  • R. Jacobs
  • A. Decostere
  • A. M. Declercq


Currently, the importance of zoonoses is increasing as a result of, for example, the internationalization of trade. Zoonoses may be caused by ingestion (food zoonosis) or after skin contact with infected material (contact zoonosis). The increase of fish zoonoses is specifically due to the expansion of aquaculture. Fishermen, fish handlers, but also fish hobbyists are at the highest risk of being exposed to fish as a possible zoonotic source of infection. Often, these people are inadequately aware of this situation. Preventive measures are hence crucial. Mycobacterium marinum, Vibrio vulnificus, Edwardsiella tarda and Streptococcus iniae are the most important topically acquired bacterial fish zoonotic germs. Aeromonas hydrophila and Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae are considered less common. Infection of humans occurs through contact of skin lesions with the bacterium, and for some of the bacteria mentioned via oral route. In most cases, the diagnosis of these infections can be assumed based on the anamnesis, in which previous contact with fish has been demonstrated. The diagnosis of the specific germ can be confirmed via bacterial isolation and subsequent identification, for example via polymerase chain reaction. Treatment of infection is mostly done through antibiotics. In some cases, additional surgical treatment is needed.

How to Cite:

Jacobs, R. & Decostere, A. & Declercq, A., (2016) “Bacterial zoonotic agents of fish”, Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 85(3), 115-123. doi:

Download PDF
View PDF



Published on
28 Jun 2016
Peer Reviewed