A multiplex PCR assay based on the 16S rRNA genes was developed for the simultaneous detection of three major fish pathogens, Aeromonas salmonicida, Flavobacterium psychrophilum, and Yersinia ruckeri. The assay proved to be specific and as sensitive as each single PCR assay, with detection limits in the range of 6, 0.6, and 27 CFU for A. salmonicida, F. psychrophilum, and Y. ruckeri, respectively. The assay was useful for the detection of the bacteria in artificially infected fish as well as in fish farm outbreaks. Results revealed that this multiplex PCR system permits a specific, sensitive, reproducible, and rapid method for the routine laboratory diagnosis of infections produced by these three bacteria
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