The main objectives of this project are to reduce the potential risk of transmitting tuberculosis from Snakehead, a common food fish, to man and to increase the yield in fish production, by using rapid diagnostic methods to aid in the control of the disease. This can be accomplished using the expertise from the three contractors at the Institute of Aquaculture, Stirling, UK (contractor No. 1), Instituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del piemonte, Torino, Italy (contractor No. 2) and the Aquatic Animal Health Research Institute, Bankok, Thailand, (contractor No. 3). Recently strains of Mycobacteria, the causative agent of fish tuberculosis, which grow at human-body temperature have been isolated by contractor No. 3. Bacteria will be collected from snakehead and other fish during outbreaks of tuberculosis and the different fresh isolates characterised both biochemically and by electrophoresis by contractors No. 2 and 3. Monoclonal antibody probes will then be produced and used by contractors No. 1 and 2 t0 develop rapid scientific tests (ELISA and dot-blot) to detect Mycobacteria in fish tissue and water samples, respectively. This new methodology will be transferred to contracts No. 3 and field trials will be performed, with all three contractors participating, to assess the level and distribution of Mycobacteria in Thailand. Diagnosis using ELISA and dot-blot will be compared to the slow routine methods such as bacteriology and histology, used at present in Thailand. It is hoped that regular screening of fish populations and water sources will enable the monitoring of high risk areas so that the disease can be more easily controlled and the
yield in food fish increased, as well as the potential risk of such strains capable of growth at human body temperature to human consumers reduced.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts