Co-occurrence of heterogeneous Flavobacterium psychrophilum isolates within the same Chilean farm and during the same infectious outbreak

Pedro Ilardi, Sara Valdes, Javier Rivera, Rute Irgang, Ruben Avendaño-Herrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Flavobacterium psychrophilum is a pathogenic bacterium affecting Chilean salmonid farms. High antigenic and genetic diversity exists among Chilean F. psychrophilum isolates, but the distribution thereof among farms is poorly understood. These epidemiological data are key for developing isolate-specific vaccines. The present study isolated F. psychrophilum in diseased Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) from five freshwater farms between 2018 and 2019. Each farm only raised one salmonid species and was geographically separated from and did not share culturing water with the other farms. Antigenic and genetic analyses were conducted to shed light on the possibility of isolates coexisting within the same farm during outbreaks. A total of 68 Chilean F. psychrophilum isolates were recovered from skin lesions, gills, fins, kidney and spleen of moribund and live fish. Among the 68 Chilean isolates, mPCR-serotyping indicated three major serotypes (i.e. 23.5% type 0; 47.1% type 2; and 26.5% type 4) and, to a lesser degree, serotype 1 (2.9%). Sixteen antigenic groups were detected by slide agglutination. Genetic characterizations by 16S rRNA alleles identified 71% of the isolates as the virulent genogroup CSF259-93 allele. A predominant serotype was associated with each farm, with types 0 and 4 related to Atlantic salmon and types 1 and 2 to rainbow trout. Notwithstanding, several antigenic groups coexisted within some farms. Likewise, the experimental intramuscular challenges (n = 20) demonstrated that the type-2 isolates from rainbow trout were the most pathogenic among isolates recovered from infectious outbreaks in Atlantic salmon, especially as compared to those from types-0 and -4. These results allow us to suggest that prevention measures, specifically vaccines, should be developed according to dominant isolates and with specificity to each farm, that is the use of autogenous or site-specific vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1096
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Fish Diseases
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • BCWD
  • genotype
  • pathogenicity
  • RTFS
  • serotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)


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