Bacterial and viral co-infections in aquaculture under climate warming: co-evolutionary implications, diagnosis, and treatment.

11 Apr 2024
Vega-Heredia S, Giffard-Mena I, Reverter M
Climate change and the associated environmental temperature fluctuations are contributing to increases in the frequency and severity of disease outbreaks in both wild and farmed aquatic species. This has a significant impact on biodiversity and also puts global food production systems, such as aquaculture, at risk. Most infections are the result of complex interactions between multiple pathogens, and understanding these interactions and their co-evolutionary mechanisms is crucial for developing effective diagnosis and control strategies. In this review, we discuss current knowledge on bacteria-bacteria, virus-virus, and bacterial and viral co-infections in aquaculture as well as their co-evolution in the context of global warming. We also propose a framework and different novel methods (e.g. advanced molecular tools such as digital PCR and next-generation sequencing) to (1) precisely identify overlooked co-infections, (2) gain an understanding of the co-infection dynamics and mechanisms by knowing species interactions, and (3) facilitate the development multi-pathogen preventive measures such as polyvalent vaccines. As aquaculture disease outbreaks are forecasted to increase both due to the intensification of practices to meet the protein demand of the increasing global population and as a result of global warming, understanding and treating co-infections in aquatic species has important implications for global food security and the economy.