Tenacibaculum maritimum is the aetiological agent of an ulcerative disease known as tenacibaculosis, which affects a large number of marine fish species in the world and is of considerable economic significance to aquaculture producers. Problems associated with epizootics include high mortality rates, increased susceptibility to other pathogens, high labour costs of treatment and enormous expenditures on chemotherapy. In the present article we review current knowledge on this bacterial pathogen, focusing on important aspects such as the phenotypic, serologic and genetic characterization of the bacterium, its geographical distribution and the host species affected. The epizootiology of the disease, the routes of transmission and the putative reservoirs of T. maritimum are also discussed. We include a summary of molecular diagnostic procedures, the current status of prevention and control strategies, the main virulence mechanisms of the pathogen, and we attempt to highlight fruitful areas for continued research.
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