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Keywords:

  • antimicrobial susceptibility testing;
  • broth microdilution;
  • columnaris;
  • Flavobacterium columnare ;
  • multiple resistance

Abstract

Flavobacterium columnare is the causative agent of columnaris disease in diverse fish species worldwide. Although columnaris is an important disease, the antimicrobial susceptibility pattern of F. columnare is not well studied. Thus, the purpose of this study was to test the in vitro antimicrobial susceptibility of 97 F. columnare isolates collected worldwide between 1987 and 2011 from 17 fish species. The broth microdilution technique was utilized for reliable testing of these fastidious organisms. None of the isolates displayed acquired resistance to florfenicol, gentamicin, ormetoprim-sulfadimethoxine and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Acquired resistance to chloramphenicol was detected in 1%, to nitrofuran in 5%, to oxytetracycline in 11% and to enrofloxacin, flumequine and oxolinic acid in 10%, 16% and 16% of the isolates, respectively, as reflected by a bimodal or trimodal distribution of their minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs). One isolate showed acquired resistance towards several antimicrobial agents including erythromycin. Another isolate revealed acquired resistance towards – amongst others – ampicillin. The isolates displaying acquired resistance originated from ornamental fish species or Vietnamese catfish, except for two isolates coming from wild channel catfish in which acquired resistance was encountered towards oxytetracycline only. Fifty per cent of the resistant isolates from ornamental fish were shown to have acquired resistance against three classes of antimicrobial agents, assigning these isolates as multiple resistant. These data might indicate less prudent use of antimicrobials especially in ornamental fish species.