Transmission and persistence of Ceratonova shasta genotypes in Chinook salmon

J Parasitol. 2014 Dec;100(6):773-7. doi: 10.1645/13-482.1.


Ceratonova shasta is a myxozoan parasite of salmon and trout transmitted by waterborne actinospores. Based on DNA sequence data and host specificity, 4 distinct parasite genotypes are recognized. Genotypes I and II are common in the lower reaches of the Klamath River, Oregon-California, but only infection by genotype I causes mortality in Chinook salmon. We conducted sentinel fish exposures and determined genotype composition in river water during exposure, and in fish gills, intestine, and tank water post-exposure to determine whether: (1) transmission of parasites having different genotypes is host-specific and (2) all transmitted genotypes persist in the host through to release as waterborne stages. Initial parasite transmission to the fish host appears indiscriminant, since we detected both genotypes I and II in 83.6% of the fish gills sampled. However, only genotype I was detected in fish that succumbed to infection, while both genotypes persisted in fish that survived. Persistence was likely dependent on exposure dose, initial infection type (mixed or single) and infection outcome (mortality or survival). The transmission of both genotypes to a majority of Chinook salmon and the persistence of multiple genotypes raises questions about how infection with mixed genotypes could result in within-host interactions that affect disease severity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • Fish Diseases / parasitology*
  • Fish Diseases / transmission
  • Genotype
  • Gills / parasitology
  • Host Specificity
  • Intestines / parasitology
  • Life Cycle Stages
  • Myxozoa / classification*
  • Myxozoa / genetics
  • Myxozoa / growth & development
  • Northwestern United States
  • Parasitic Diseases, Animal / parasitology*
  • Parasitic Diseases, Animal / transmission
  • Polychaeta / parasitology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Rivers / parasitology
  • Salmon / parasitology*


  • DNA