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Antibiotic Resistance Strikes $15 Billion Ornamental Fish Industry
Date:2/2/2013

hough many of the bacterial infections identified among the fish -- including Aeromonas, Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus -- could also occur in people, the study's authors noted that the transmission of disease from fish to humans is unlikely.

The researchers advised, however, that anyone in contact with tropical fish wear gloves and wash their hands after working with them. People should also avoid cleaning fish tanks if they have cuts or open sores on their hands. Sick fish should be removed from tanks immediately, and antibiotics should never be used on tanks unless the bacteria is identified.

"We don't think individuals should ever use antibiotics in a random, preventive or prophylactic method," Miller-Morgan said. "Even hobbyists can learn more about how to identify tropical fish parasites and diseases, and use antibiotics only if a bacterial disease is diagnosed."

The ornamental fish industry involves the trade of more than 6,000 species of freshwater and marine fish from more than 100 countries. The researchers suggested that the industry needs to improve screening methods, and quarantines -- not antibiotics -- should be used to reduce fish disease.

The researchers added that concerns about antibiotic resistance are on the rise. Resistance to antibiotics can cause the drugs to lose some or all of their effectiveness against bacterial infections.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on antibiotic resistance.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Oregon State University, news release, Jan. 15, 2013.


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