Caister Academic Press

Epidemiology and Molecular Pathogenesis of Vibrio vulnificus

Iddya Karunasagar and Anusha Rohit
from: Foodborne and Waterborne Bacterial Pathogens: Epidemiology, Evolution and Molecular Biology (Edited by: Shah M. Faruque). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2012)


Vibrio vulnificus is a normal inhabitant of warm estuarine environments all over the world and may be associated with a wide variety of seafood. In susceptible individuals with underlying liver disease, diabetes or other immunocompromised condition and consuming raw seafood, the organism can cause primary septicaemia with a mortality rate of over 50%. A number of putative virulence factors such as capsule, cytotoxic factors, iron acquisition factors and factors responsible for evading the immune system of the host have been described and multiple factors seem to be involved in causing disease symptoms. The organism can be isolated, identified and enumerated by traditional microbiological methods as well as molecular methods such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and real time PCR. Clinical strains can be generally distinguished from most environmental strains by genetic fingerprinting techniques. The organism does not grow at temperatures below 13°C and therefore an important control measure is to cool the seafood to temperatures below this within a few hours of harvest. The organism is sensitive to mild heat, which can be used as a postharvest treatment method to minimise the risk of infection. Relaying shellfish to waters with salinity of >30 ppt has also been found to be an important control measure read more ...
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