We investigated the induction of protective immunity against bacterial cold-water disease (BCWD) caused by Flavobacterium psychrophilum by warmed water treatment in ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis). Fish were immersed in a live bacterial suspension (10⁷ CFU mL⁻¹) for 30 min and placed in 700 L concrete tanks. The 28 °C warmed water treatment lasted 3 days and began 1, 6, and 24 h after immersion in the live bacterial suspension. A naïve control fish group was immersed in a sterilized modified Cytophaga (MCY) broth instead of the bacterial suspension. Fourteen days after the immersion, agglutination antibody titers against F. psychrophilum were measured by using micro-titer methods. Fish were then exposed to a bacterial bath to infect them with live F. psychrophilum, and cumulative mortality was monitored. Fish treated with warmed water at 1, 6, and 24 h after immersion in the live bacterial suspension had cumulative mortalities of 36%, 30%, and 18%, respectively, all of which were significantly lower than the cumulative mortality of the naïve control fish (90%). Treated fish also showed high antibody titers against F. psychrophilum in agglutination tests. These results demonstrate that warmed water treatment could not only cure BCWD but also immunize the fish against the causative agent F. psychrophilum.
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