In 2008, several episodes of mortality were recorded in cultured populations of juvenile greater amberjack reared in the southwest region of Japan. Diseased fish had asymmetrical abdominal distention and pale gills. The head kidney, trunk kidney, and spleen of every fish that was examined was enlarged and discolored. The results of all microbiological and molecular biological assays of tissues taken from diseased fish were negative for major known pathogens. Histopathologically, the disease was characterized by proliferative interstitial nephritis and proliferative splenitis associated with minute, round structures within the cytoplasm of proliferating mono-nucleated cells. Transmission trial using the enlarged trunk kidney from a naturally infected fish successfully reproduced the disease. The results indicate that this disease is caused by an infectious microorganism, and the most likely etiological agent is the minute, round structures which are probably a hitherto unknown eukaryotic microorganism.
2014 The Japanese Society of Fish Pathology