Fusarium Solani Infection in a Group of Marine Angelfish
IAAAM 1991
Mark D. Stetter, DVM; Joseph M. Choromanski, MS
Audubon Institute Aquarium of the Americas, New Orleans, LA

Twelve angelfish developed a fatal fungal infection by the organism Fusarium solani. These included French Angelfish (Pomacanthus paru), Grey Angelfish (Pomacanthus arcuatus), Queen Angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris), and Blue Angelfish (Holocanthus bermudensis). All of the fish were wild caught off of the Florida Keys and in temporary holding for exhibit at the Aquarium of the Americas. Lesions included severe dermal ulcerations which usually started around the head and slowly progressed along the face, operculum and lateral line. These areas would start as a raised fluid-filled pustule which would easily rupture upon contact. The dermal ulceration often invaded into the underlying muscle and bony tissues. In four cases, the fungus had become systemic and could be found in the kidney and/or brain. Histopathology showed a severe chronic granulomatous dermatitis, cellulitis and myositis with intralesional fungal elements. Tissues showed a degeneration of the architecture by mats of septate branching fungal hyphae and infiltrates of mononuclear cells. Diagnosis and organism identification was made by the Fusarium Research Center (Penn. State University) and the Fungus Testing Laboratory (University of Texas Health Science Center).

Fusarium spp. are ubiquitous organisms found very commonly in soil. The literature has begun to increasingly recognize Fusarium as a true pathogen. Fusarium has been described as an ocular pathogen in humans for many years. Reports of Fusarium as an etiology of disease in fish are scarce. Ostland (1987) reported two cases of Fusarium solani peritonitis in a desert pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius) and a pink triggerfish (Melichthys vidua). Smith (1989) reported the death of immature bonnet head sharks (Sphyrna tiburo) which died from Fusarium solani infections. This abstract describes an outbreak of Fusarium in a group of captive marine angelfish.

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Joseph M. Choromanski, MS

Mark D. Stetter, DVM, DACZM
Walt Disney World, Animal Programs
Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA

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