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The role of skin during infection and the host response to Piscirickettsia salmonis



The bacterium Piscirickettsia salmonis causes a disease, salmonid rickettsial septicemia (SRS), in farmed salmonids (salmon, trout, and charr). In British Columbia (BC), P. salmonis has been found in wild and farmed Pacific salmon and in farmed Atlantic salmon.

According to past research, fewer sockeye salmon go on to develop systemic infections and die in comparison to pink and Atlantic salmon suggesting that sockeye salmon are less susceptible to P. salmonis. One assessment found that the risk of infection in sockeye salmon attributed to BC salmon farms is very unlikely. However, this conclusion had a high degree of uncertainty because the susceptibility of sockeye salmon and the host-pathogen interactions in sockeye salmon are poorly understood.

This project will evaluate factors in sockeye salmon that may explain why they are less susceptible to the bacteria. Skin has previously been identified as a primary route of entry of P. salmonis. This research will address the role of the skin in bacterial uptake and host resistance among salmon species.

Program Name

Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR)



Principal Investigator(s)

Simon Jones

Research Scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station


Team Member(s)

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