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1 December 2011 Disseminated Fungal Infection in Two Species of Captive Sharks
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Abstract

In this report, two cases of systemic mycosis in captive sharks are characterized. These cases were progressive and ultimately culminated in terminal disease. Paecilomyces lilacinus, an uncommon pathogen in human and veterinary medicine, was associated with areas of necrosis in the liver, heart, and gill in a great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran). Fungal growth was observed from samples of kidney, spleen, spinal fluid, and coelomic cavity swabs. Dual fungal infection by Exophiala pisciphila and Mucor circinelloides was diagnosed in a juvenile zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum). Both fungi were present in the liver, with more severe tissue destruction associated with E. pisciphila. E. pisciphila also produced significant necrosis in the spleen and gill, while M. circinelloides was associated with only minimal tissue changes in the heart. Fungal cultures from liver, kidney, and spleen were positive for both E. pisciphila and M. circinelloides. Identification of P. lilacinus and M. circinelloides was based on colonial and hyphal morphology. E. pisciphila was identified by sequence analysis of the 28S rRNA D1/D2 region and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region between the 18S and 28S rRNA subunit. These cases, and a lack of information in the literature, highlight the need for further research and diagnostic sampling to further characterize the host–pathogen interaction between elasmobranchs and fungi.

American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
David P. Marancik, Aimee L. Berliner, Julie M. Cavin, Tonya M. Clauss, Alistair D. M. Dove, Deanna A. Sutton, Brian L. Wickes, and Alvin C. Camus "Disseminated Fungal Infection in Two Species of Captive Sharks," Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 42(4), 686-693, (1 December 2011). https://doi.org/10.1638/2010-0175.1
Received: 29 September 2010; Published: 1 December 2011
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