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Vibriosis, not cholera: toxigenic Vibrio cholerae non-O1, non-O139 infections in the United States, 1984–2014

  • S. J. CROWE (a1) (a2), A. E. NEWTON (a2), L. H. GOULD (a2), M. B. PARSONS (a3), S. STROIKA (a3), C. A. BOPP (a3), M. FREEMAN (a3), K. GREENE (a3) and B. E. MAHON (a2)...

Summary

Toxigenic strains of Vibrio cholerae serogroups O1 and O139 have caused cholera epidemics, but other serogroups – such as O75 or O141 – can also produce cholera toxin and cause severe watery diarrhoea similar to cholera. We describe 31 years of surveillance for toxigenic non-O1, non-O139 infections in the United States and map these infections to the state where the exposure probably originated. While serogroups O75 and O141 are closely related pathogens, they differ in how and where they infect people. Oysters were the main vehicle for O75 infection. The vehicles for O141 infection include oysters, clams, and freshwater in lakes and rivers. The patients infected with serogroup O75 who had food traceback information available ate raw oysters from Florida. Patients infected with O141 ate oysters from Florida and clams from New Jersey, and those who only reported being exposed to freshwater were exposed in Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, and Texas. Improving the safety of oysters, specifically, should help prevent future illnesses from these toxigenic strains and similar pathogenic Vibrio species. Post-harvest processing of raw oysters, such as individual quick freezing, heat-cool pasteurization, and high hydrostatic pressurization, should be considered.

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Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Dr S. J. Crowe, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, MS A38, Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA. (Email: yeo2@cdc.gov).

References

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