EXTENT OF CONTAMINATION OF FRESH CATFISH (CLARIAS GARIEPINUS) WITH BACILLUS CEREUS PATHOGEN IN THE NIGERIAN CATFISH AQUACULTURE SYSTEMS
The present study estimated the exposure levels of Bacillus cereus pathogen in fresh catfish cultured in Nigerian aquaculture systems. One-way analysis of variance of the sample sizes was performed based on the ‘completely randomized design’. Genus- and species- level identification were performed with phenotypic and molecular techniques. Mean concentrations of the Bacillus cereus pathogen in aquacultured catfish ranged from 5.49 to 5.70 log10 CFU g-1 while prevalence was reported at 100 %. The findings in this study revealed gross contamination of the aquacultured catfish with B. cereus pathogen which may result in significant health consequences in the absence of adequate microbial mitigation protocols during fresh catfish processing by catfish handlers and consumers. Thus, there is an urgent need for relevant government agencies to commence monitoring of the operations of catfish farmers which are largely responsible for the unsatisfactory levels of B. cereus and probably other bacterial pathogens in the Nigerian catfish aquaculture systems.