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J Food Prot. 2004 Aug;67(8):1617-23.

Occurrence of Vibrio vulnificus in fish and shellfish available from markets in China.

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National Research Institute of Fisheries Science, Yokohama 2368648, Japan.


Vibrio vulnificus is a naturally occurring estuarine bacterium often associated with disease such as septicemia in humans following consumption of raw and lightly cooked seafood. In China and neighboring countries, rapid economic growth has encouraged increased consumption of seafood, and dietary habits are changing, with more people eating raw fish. In this study, the prevalence of V. vulnificus was investigated in 48 samples from 11 species of live seafood available from markets in coastal cities of China. The bacterium was detected in four of four razor clam samples, in seven of seven giant tiger prawn samples, and in five of nine mantis shrimp samples. The bacterium was also found in water samples of the prawn aquaria at the markets. The maximum level of V. vulnificus was 3.4 log CFU/g in the razor clam samples and 4.9 log CFU/g in the prawn samples by a direct spreading method. Differential bacterial counts on the prawn body revealed that most of the bacteria were found on the shells (exoskeletons), with very few in the edible muscle. However, dense populations can be found in the intestines. Biochemical tests indicated that the isolates of V. vulnificus were biotype 1 strain, which is pathogenic to humans. These isolates were susceptible to ampicillin, penicillin, kanamycin, streptomycin, and erythromycin. These results suggest that V. vulnificus is a potential health hazard to humans in cities consuming and handling live shellfish, especially giant tiger prawns.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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