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Molecular Characterization and Antibiotic Susceptibility of Edwardsiella tarda isolated from Farmed Nile Tilapia and African Catfish from Wakiso, Uganda

Mary Nantongo
Denis Karuhize Byarugaba
John Kiremerwa Walakira


This study was conducted to isolate and characterize Edwardsiella tarda (E. tarda) and assess its antimicrobial susceptibility. The bacterium was isolated in Wakiso District, Uganda, from symptomatic and asymptomatic Nile tilapia and African catfish raised in earthen ponds, tanks and cages between September 2016 and February 2017. The bacterium was then identified using conventional biochemical tests and API 20E test kits and characterized by sequencing 16S rRNA gene. The antibiotic susceptibility of 16 drugs was established using the Kirby BeurDisc diffusion method. Eight E. tarda isolates were identified using conventional biochemical tests but only one isolate was confirmed to be E. tarda by PCR. Phylogenetic analysis indicated a distant relationship with other 16S rRNA gene sequences retrieved from the GenBank. Six virulence genes (CitC, muk, gadB, katB, esaV, and fimA) that enhance bacterial survival and pathogenesis in the host were detected. The isolate registered low levels of antibiotic resistance as it was resistant only to Oxacillin, Vancomycin and Penicillin, to which it is intrinsically resistant. This implies low antibiotic usage in aquaculture in the area. Despite its low occurrence, presence of virulent genes in E. tarda indicates its potential to affect fish and human health.

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eISSN: 2410-6909
print ISSN: 1026-0919