Can Fish Diseases Affect Humans?

Fish may carry germs that make people sick. These germs can also contaminate the water in which fish live. Although fish and aquarium water can spread germs to people, illness due to keeping fish is rare. While. Handling fish or cleaning aquariums. Although fish and aquarium water can spread germs to people, illness due to keeping fish is rare. By giving routine care to your fish and their aquarium as well as basic simple health tips you are less likely to get sick from touching, feeding, or owning aquarium fish.

What Diseases can Humans get from Fish?

Mycobacterium marinum

This is a type of bacteria that causes disease in fish, and amphibians. This germ is found in freshwater ponds and aquariums. It is spread to people and animals through contaminated aquarium water. All fish are susceptible to mycobacteriosis. This disease is typically slow growing in fish but can affect some fish more quickly. Affected fish may show no signs of illness or may stop eating, lose their fins or scales, develop sores, or appear deformed.

Aeromonas spp

Aeromonas is a type of bacteria that is commonly found in freshwater ponds and aquariums. These germs can cause disease in fish and amphibians. Aeromonas can cause discoloration of the limbs of amphibians and the fins of fish. It can also cause internal bleeding in these Aquatic animals. 

People can become infected through open wounds or by drinking contaminated water, young children and adults with weak immune systems are most commonly affected and may have diarrhea or blood infections.


  • Maintaining good water quality in aquariums, promptly removing dead fish, and practicing healthy habits, including hand washing, will reduce the risk of Aeromonas infection.
  • If you want to protect your fish, rinse your hands extremely well to reduce any soap residue after you wash your hands. 
  • Adults should supervise hand washing for young children. 
  • Do not let children younger than 5 years handle or touch aquariums or aquarium water or feed fish without supervision children younger than 5 years old are more likely to get sick from exposure to germs like salmonella.

Can humans get tuberculosis (TB) from fish?

Yes, Humans get tuberculosis (TB) from fish, as humans get infected with Mycobacterium spp. Through open wounds in contact with infected fish or water. Following are the symptoms that can give you a hint about the disease.


  • Loss of body condition.
  • Lethargy and anorexia.
  • Scale loss.
  • Skin ulcers.
  • Dropsy-like appearance.
  • Reproductive problems.

There are no tests that can confirm mycobacteria (TB) in live fish at this time. The presence of mycobacteria is confirmed using an acid-fast stain and also there is no treatment available for fish tuberculosis fish.

Fish can save themselves from this bacteria in a low-stress environment with good water quality. Prevention is the only way to protect from fish tuberculosis.