Young prespawning oysters, Ostrea edulis, were held over 6 mo at two different Bonamia ostreae-endemic sites in Ireland, to determine to what extent they could become infected with this protozoan parasite. Prevalence and intensity of infection were monitored, using the traditional method of ventricular heart smears and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results showed that 0 and 1 oysters were susceptible to infection. Infection was observed in the naïve and previously exposed oysters 2 months post relaying. Of ventricular heart smears and PCR, PCR was the more sensitive diagnostic technique in detecting B. ostreae in most of the oysters. Current methods recommended by the Office International Epizooties (OIE) and the European Union (EU), histology and screening of heart smears for B. ostreae, may be inadequate because certain low levels of infection may go undetected.
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Vol. 24 • No. 4