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Emerg Infect Dis. 2009 Feb;15(2):163-8.

Epidemiology of Vibrio parahaemolyticus outbreaks, southern Chile.

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Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.


Disease outbreaks caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Puerto Montt, Chile, began in 2004 and reached a peak in 2005 at 3,600 clinical cases. Until 2006, every analyzed case was caused by the serovar O3:K6 pandemic strain. In the summer of 2007, only 475 cases were reported; 73% corresponded to the pandemic strain. This decrease was associated with a change in serotype of many pandemic isolates to O3:K59 and the emergence of new clinical strains. One of these strains, associated with 11% of the cases, was genotypically different from the pandemic strain but contained genes that were identical to those found on its pathogenicity island. These findings suggest that pathogenicity-related genes were laterally transferred from the pandemic strain to one of the different V. parahaemolyticus groups comprising the diverse and shifting bacterial population in shellfish in this region.

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