Research NewsPARASITOLOGY

Fishing for Answers to Whirling Disease

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Science  10 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5336, pp. 225-226
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5336.225

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Summary

BOZEMAN, MONTANA-- "Whirling disease," caused by the protozoan Myxobolus cerebralis, has caused declines in Montana's rainbow trout populations, jeopardizing the state's income from trout fishing. The disease has been notoriously difficult to diagnose, but a sensitive test, developed in the past year, has given researchers a new tool to track infections and study the complex life cycle of M. cerebralis, which depends on two hosts and two pathogenic stages. These new techniques should immediately help fisheries managers avoid spreading the parasite through contaminated fish stocks, and they may eventually point to ways to combat the parasite in the wild.