• Question: do aquatic animals get diseases?

    Asked by lovindatscience123 to Ramya, Keith, Bethany on 21 Jun 2014.
    • Photo: Bethany Dearlove

      Bethany Dearlove answered on 21 Jun 2014:


      Yes, aquatic animals can and do get diseases. In fact, valuable fish (either as food, or ornamental fish) can even get vaccines – for example, there’s a vaccine for the herpes virus in koi carp. The diseases that we know most about tend to be the ones found in aquariums, as they’re easier to study. I don’t know enough about them to go into detail, but aquatic animals can catch diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, fungus and parasites just like us – although their immune system is a bit different to ours for dealing with them. Fish with parasites on the outside of their body can visit ‘cleaner fish’, which are fish that act a bit like a car wash to remove the parasites.

    • Photo: Ramya Bhatia

      Ramya Bhatia answered on 22 Jun 2014:


      Dear lovindatscience123

      Yes, all animals get diseases. Several viruses and parasites infect aquatic animals as well.

    • Photo: Keith Grehan

      Keith Grehan answered on 22 Jun 2014:


      Yes they absolutely do get diseases and a team researching diseases and health in general in whales have a great way to do this:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11447095

      After that as Bethany and Ramya have said aquatic animals get disease just like all the rest of us. It is interesting that Bethany mentioned Herpes as this virus is also infecting Sea lions in California and biologists in the area are very worried about it.
      In addition people that keep fish sometimes need to treat them for various different diseases in peoples fish tank at home fungal disease is especially common and can be a real problem, thankfully most can be cured by simply adding a supplement to the aquariums water.

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