Columnaris disease is one of the main causes of mortality in tilapia rearing and is responsible for large economic losses worldwide. Hematology is a tool that makes it possible to study organisms' physiological responses to pathogens. It may assist in making diagnoses and prognoses on diseases in fish populations. The hematological variables of nile tilapia were studied in specimens with a clinical diagnosis of columnaris disease and in specimens that were disease-free. The total erythrocyte count, hemoglobin rate, hematocrit percentage, mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), organic defense blood cell percentages (leukocytes and thrombocytes) and hepatosomatic and splenosomatic index were determined. The results showed that there were changes in the erythrocytic series and in organic defense blood cells, in the fish infected with the bacterium, with reductions in erythrocytic variables and significant increases in the numbers of circulating lymphocytes and neutrophils.