Fish Borne Diseases

Fish farming, or aquaculture, for fish and shellfish is becoming more common and more internationalized with every passing year. In the United States, more than half the seafood consumption is imported, much of it from fish farming. The world's seafood trade is very complex, and if is often difficult or impossible to determine where the seafood is raised or harvested. For example, the United States imports salmon from Switzerland and Panama though neither country is known for large salmon fisheries (36).

In general, farmed fish is as safe and nutritious as wild-caught species, but there are public health hazards associated with ignorance, abuse, and neglect of aquaculture technology. Numerous small fish ponds increase the shoreline of ponds causing higher densities of mosquito larvae and cercaria, which can increase the incidence and prevalence of lymphatic filariasis and schistoso-miasis. Especially dangerous is the use of human waste draining to fertilize or create ponds. Technology abuse includes the misuse of therapeutic drugs, chemicals, fertilizers and natural fish habitat areas. Technology neglect includes the failure to pay attention to mosquito habitats and the concomitant increase in malaria, as well as the propagation of other organisms (36).

Human exposure can be through direct skin contact with fish or the consumption of contaminated fish or shellfish products or contaminated water. The main pathogens acquired topically from fish (through spine puncture or open wounds) are Aeromonas hydrophila, Edwardsiella tarda, Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, Mycobacterium marinum, Streptococcus iniae, Vibrio vulnificus, and Vibrio damsela. S. iniae has recently emerged as a public health hazard associated with aquaculture, and M. marinum often infects home aquarium hobbyists. Common zoonoses contracted through the consumption of contaminated products or water include salmonella, leptospirosis, yersiniosis, and tuberculosis (37).

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