Aquatic Information Center




Salmonid Whirling Disease

Maria E. Markiw

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Whirling disease is a parasitic infection of trout and salmon by the myxosporean protozoan Myxobolus cerebralis (Syn. Myxosoma cerebralis). This parasite has selective tropism for cartilage; infection can cause deformities of the axial skeleton and neural damage that results in "blacktail." The disease is named for the erratic, tail-chasing, "whirling' in young fish that are startled or fed. Heavy infection of young fish can result in high mortalities or unmarketable, deformed individuals.
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