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Sci Rep 2020 Dec 17;101:22150. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-78876-0.
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Epidemiology of a SKin Ulceration Disease (SKUD) in the sea cucumber Holothuria scabra with a review on the SKUDs in Holothuroidea (Echinodermata).

Delroisse J , Van Wayneberghe K , Flammang P , Gillan D , Gerbaux P , Opina N , Todinanahary GGB , Eeckhaut I .

Aquacultivated sea cucumbers often suffer from SKin Ulceration Diseases (SKUDs). SKUDs have been observed in six holothuroid species from nine countries. All SKUDs present a similar symptom-the skin ulceration-and can be induced by bacteria, viruses, or abiotic factors. We here provide an update on SKUDs in holothuroids and analyse the case of the SKUD observed in Holothuria scabra in Madagascar. Field observations revealed a seasonality of the disease (i.e. wintertime maximum peak). Morphological analyses of integument ulcers showed that sea cucumbers react by forming a collagen fibre plug. Metagenomic analyses revealed a higher proportion of Vibrionaceae (Gammaproteobacteria) in ulcers in comparison to the healthy integument of the same individuals. Experimental infection assays were performed with ulcer crude extracts and bacteria isolated from these extracts (e.g. Vibrio parahaemolyticus) but did not significantly induce skin ulceration. Our results suggest that the disease is not induced by a pathogen or, at the very least, that the pathogen is not found within the ulcers as the disease is not transmissible by contact. An initial cause of the SKUD in Madagascar might be the repeated and prolonged exposures to cold temperatures. Opportunistic bacteria could settle in the dermis of ulcerated individuals and promote the ulcer extension. We propose a general nomenclature for SKUDs based on the acronym of the disease, the affected sea cucumber species (e.g. Hs for Holothuria scabra), the concerned region using an ISO code 3166-2 (e.g. MG for Madagascar), the description date (e.g. 20 for the year 2020), and, when known, the inducing agent (first letter of the general taxon, b for bacteria, v for virus in currently known cases; a a if it is an abiotic inducing parameter; nothing if the inducing cause has not been precisely identified). The disease described in this work will be designated under the name SKUD Hs-MG-20.

PubMed ID: 33335179
PMC ID: PMC7746772
Article link: Sci Rep

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