MYCOBACTERIA IN AQUARIUM FISH: ARE FISH HANDLERS AWARE OF THEIR ZOONOTIC POTENTIAL?

Mateja Pate, Andrej Ovca, Vlasta Jenčič, Manca Žolnir Dovč, Matjaž Ocepek

Abstract


Mycobacteria potentially pathogenic for humans are commonly present in aquarium fish sold in Slovenian pet shops. Mycobacterium marinum is the most important causative agent of skin mycobacteriosis in humans. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate, by means of a questionnaire, aquarium hobbyists’ and pet shop salespersons’ awareness of the health risks related to aquarium fish handling. A total of 198 participants took part in the study, 76.3% of these were aquarium hobbyists, and 23.7% were pet shop salespersons with up to 15 years of fish handling experience. About one third (35.8%) of all participants recognized that fish may be a source of infection for humans and that fish may contract tuberculosis. Fewer (24.4%) were aware of the fact that fish tuberculosis is a zoonotic disease. The vast majority of respondents were unfamiliar with the clinical manifestations of either fish tuberculosis or cutaneous mycobacteriosis in humans. Despite the generally acknowledged belief that aquarium water may pose a risk to human health, the respondents’ aquarium handling practices were surprising as the majority never used waterproof gloves. Several differences were revealed between the two groups of respondents. Pet shop salespersons were better educated on fish handling, and more were aware of the health risks linked to aquarium fish than aquarium hobbyists. The latter often perceived pet shop salespersons as relevant sources of information. However, overall awareness of the zoonotic potential of fish mycobacteria proved to be fairly low. Therefore, more effort should be made to increase the awareness of the role of mycobacteria in infections associated with exposure to aquarium fish.

Key words: fish tank granuloma; fish tuberculosis; mycobacteria; questionnaire; zoonosis

 

MIKOBAKTERIJE PRI AKVARIJSKIH RIBAH: ALI SE AKVARISTI ZAVEDAJO NJIHOVEGA ZOONOTSKGA POTENCIALA?

Povzetek: Za ljudi potencialno patogene vrste mikobakterij so v Sloveniji splošno prisotne pri akvarijskih ribah, ki so naprodaj v trgovinah z domačimi ljubljenčki, med drugimi tudi vrsta Mycobacterium marinum, ki je najpomembnejša povzročiteljica kožne mikobakterioze pri ljudeh. Namen raziskave je bil, s pomočjo vprašalnika, oceniti zavedanje ljubiteljskih akvaristov in prodajalcev v trgovinah z akvarističnim programom o zdravstvenih tveganjih, povezanih z rokovanjem z ribami. V raziskavi je sodelovalo 198 oseb, 76,3 % ljubiteljskih akvaristov in 23,7 % prodajalcev v trgovinah, ki so v povprečju imeli do 15 let izkušenj pri rokovanju z akvarijskimi ribami. Približno tretjina (35,8 %) sodelujočih se je strinjala s trditvijo, da so ribe lahko vir okužbe za ljudi in da ribe lahko zbolijo za tuberkulozo. V manjšem deležu (24,4 %) so se sodelujoči strinjali s trditvijo, da je ribja tuberkuloza zoonoza. Velika večina anketirancev ni poznala kliničnih znakov ribje tuberkuloze in kožne mikobakterioze pri ljudeh. Kljub splošno izraženemu prepričanju, da lahko voda iz akvarija predstavlja tveganje za zdravje ljudi, je bila splošna praksa rokovanja z ribami presenetljiva, saj velika večina sodelujočih pri rokovanju z ribami nikoli ne uporablja vodoodpornih rokavic. Med obema skupinama anketirancev smo odkrili več razlik. Prodajalci v trgovinah so bolj poučeni o rokovanju z ribami in bolj ozaveščeni o zdravstvenih tveganjih povezanih z akvarijskimi ribami, kot ljubiteljski akvaristi. Slednji prodajalce dojemajo kot zaupanja vreden vir informacij. V splošnem je ozaveščenost o zoonotskem potencialu mikobakterij pri akvarijskih ribah precej slaba, zato bi morali nameniti več pozornosti ozaveščanju o vlogi mikobakterij pri okužbah, povezanih z akvarijskimi ribami.

Ključne besede: kožna mikobakterioza; ribja tuberkuloza; mikobakterije; vprašalnik; zoonoza


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26873/SVR-574-2019

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