Overview of fish parasites and diseases before the 20th century

by Jean Blancou† et Pierre de Kinkelin, Docteurs vétérinaires, Adel. pdekinkelin@wanadoo.fr

A review of the data available on aquatic animal diseases, from Antiquity to the end of the 19th century. In Antiquity, most of the authors were just content with repeating Aristotle’s observations. Documents produced from the Middle Ages to the 17th century are mainly chronological reports on mortality cases in cetaceans or fishes. During the 18th century, some epizootics are described with sufficient clinical details (e.g. the spring viraemia in carp) for them to be clearly recognized, and many external or internal parasites are thoroughly described. First isolations of bacteria or fungi occur at the end of the 19th century, but no significant progress was achieved in the diagnostic and control of the diseases that are caused by pathogens before the advent of modern microbiology.

Bull.soc.fr.hist.méd.sci.vét., 2010, 10 : 39-48