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Virulence and Stress Susceptibility of Clinical and Environmental Strains of Vibrio vulnificus Isolated from Samples from Taiwan and the United States

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Vibrio vulnificus is an estuarine bacterium that causes severe wound infection and septicemia with high mortality. It also can be transmitted through the consumption of raw contaminated seafood and is an important foodborne pathogen. A total of 40 environmental and clinical V. vulnificus strains isolated from the United States and Taiwan were analyzed for virulence in animals, the presence of virulence-associated factors, and susceptibility to environmental stresses. Virulence in mice was exhibited by 85% of the environmental strains and 95% of the clinical strains. Strains from environmental or clinical sources were similar in virulence-associated phenotypes (protease activity, utilization of transferrin-bound iron, hemolysis, and inactivation in serum) and susceptibility to various stresses (4 and 52°C, 0.1 and 10% NaCl, and pH 3.2), except freeze-thaw treatment. The clinical strains killed experimental animals after a shorter incubation time than did the environmental strains. Most of the 15 virulence-associated genes examined were present in most of the strains, regardless of their sources or virulence, with the exception of vvh, flgF, and purH. vvh was significantly more common in clinical strains than in environmental strains, and vvh, flgF, and purH were more common in virulent strains than in nonvirulent strains. These data may be helpful in devising strategies to manage or reduce the presence of V. vulnificus in foods.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Microbiology, Soochow University, Taipei, Taiwan 111, Republic of China

Publication date: 2005-12-01

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