Ocular localization of mycobacterial lesions in tank-reared juvenile cobia, Rachycentron canadum

A. C.N. Phillips, R. Suepaul, Esteban Soto Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Severe clinical mycobacteriosis with consistent ocular lesion localization was diagnosed in a population of 800 juvenile tank-reared Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) which experienced a sudden increase in mortality approximately 5 months after arriving into Trinidad and Tobago from Florida, USA. Moderate daily mortality (15-20 animals per day) persisted for just over 1 month. Moribund fish displayed circling behaviour and had an open-mouth gape upon death. Fish consistently presented with bilateral exophthalmia, corneal cloudiness and hyphema. Non-branching acid-fast rods were detected in aqueous humour touch preparations. Histological analysis revealed severe bilateral intra-ocular granulomatous responses in all specimens. Mycobacterium sp. was identified using a real-time PCR assay detecting the RNA polymerase β-subunit (rpoB) gene in different tissue samples. Specimens did not present with characteristic granulomatous responses usually seen in viscera. To the best of our knowledge, this represents only the third documentation of piscine mycobacterial infection presenting with only localized ocular lesions, and the second documented case of mycobacteriosis in cobia. It is, however, the first documentation of an ocular presentation of mycobacteriosis in a marine species and is the first documentation of such a presentation in cobia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Fish Diseases
StateAccepted/In press - 2017


  • Mycobacterium
  • Caribbean
  • Cobia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)


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