Species of the genus Aeromonas are native inhabitants of aquatic environments and have recently been considered as an emergent human pathogen. It is estimated that aeromonads cause up to 13% of reported gastroenteritis cases in the United States. Although the autochthonous existence of Aeromonas in the aquatic environment has been established, its natural reservoir is as yet unknown. Chironomids are closely related to mosquitoes except they do not bite and they are the most widely distributed insects in freshwater. They infest drinking water systems in Israel and all over the world. Vibrio cholerae inhabit chironomids and are able to degrade their egg masses. The degradation of the egg masses is followed by failure of the eggs to hatch. In the current study, egg masses from a waste stabilization pond and a river in northern Israel were collected and cultured during a five-month period. Bacterial colonies were randomly chosen and checked for their egg mass degradation abilities. In addition to V. cholerae, most of the other isolates that had the ability to degrade the egg masses were identified as Aeromonas species, thus, demonstrating that Aeromonas species are natural inhabitants of chironomid egg masses. The following virulence-associated genes were detected in Aeromonas species that were isolated from chironomid egg masses: alt (78%); ahpB (76%); act/aerA/hlyA (65%); fla (59%); pla/lipH3/apl-1/lip (43%); and ast (2%). These findings indicate that the Aeromonas species inhabiting chironomid egg masses pose a potential health risk. Understanding the natural reservoir of Aeromonas will help to develop methods to monitor and control the bacteria in fresh and drinking water reservoirs and to better understand the relationships between chironomids, V. cholerae and Aeromonas populations.
- Egg mass
- Vibrio cholerae
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics