White Plague in Cuba

Laurie Richardson richardl at fiu.edu
Fri Jul 13 18:39:27 EDT 2001

Dear Pedro: The pathogen of plague type III is the same as the pathogen
of plague type II - most closely related (genetic sequence data) to
Sphingomonas.  You can send samples to me (address below) or to Garriet
Smith's lab.  He has the coral pathogen data base; my lab interfaces
with his closely and directly in pathogen identification.  If you plan
to send samples, please use a sterile syringe to suck up material
directly on the disease line; put in a sterile vial or test tube with
one third air (the pathogen is an obligate aerobe); and send via
overnight mail.  Let Garriet or me know the day before you send
samples!  If you send it to me, I'll do the preliminary isolation and
send suspect pathogens to Garriet - this is the way we have been working
with tracking this pathogen with other labs in the Caribbean.  If you
plan to send it to Garriet - he's in Bermuda for a few weeks teaching a
field course.  Good luck - Laurie Richardson
ps Plague type III does not start at the base of colonies, the pattern
of plague type II. It can start anywhere on the colony, usually on the

Hernandez Edwin wrote:

> Dear coral-listers:
> This short notice is to report a massive outbreak of
> White Plague in Culebra Island, Puerto Rico.  The
> first signs of White Plague in 2001 appeared early
> last June. But during the last 3 weeks White Plague
> has been killing a significant number of columnar and
> platy morphs of Montastrea annularis.
> Similar to the 1997-98 outbreak that was described by
> Hernandez-Delgado (in review), it is only affecting
> Montastrea annularis. No other species have been
> infected in Culebra so far. We wonder if this is an
> outbreak of White Plague Type III???
> Some colonies are showing signs of recent tissue loss
> in excess of 15-30 linear cm.  We are in the process
> of tagging infected colonies and following the
> progression of the infection. Also, we'll be trying to
> control the disease progression by applying epoxy and
> antibiotics.
> Also, I'd like to know if somebody in the list knows
> if the ethiological agent of WP-III has been already
> identified and which are the characteristics?
> We are in the process of collecting tissue samples for
> microbiological analysis. Anybody interested in
> samples for confirmation? Please, contact me as soon
> as possible since we plan to revisit these sites again
> next week.
> I'll post additional information about the progress of
> the disease outbreak within the next weeks.
> Regards,
> Edwin A. Hernandez, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> University of Puerto Rico
> Department of Biology
> Coral Reef Research Group
> P.O.Box 23360
> San Juan, P.R. 00931-3360
> Tel. (787) 764-0000, x-4855
> Fax  (787) 764-2610
> __________________________________________________
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Laurie L. Richardson
Associate Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
Florida International University
Miami, Florida  USA   33199

phone:  305/348-1988
fax:  305/348-1986
email: richardl at fiu.edu

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