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Determination of the Viable Form of Vibrio....
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GRANT NUMBER:  NA37FD0216           NMFS NUMBER:  92-WO-038

REPORT TITLE: Determination of the Viable Form of Vibrio vulnificus in Cold Water Environments

AUTHOR:  Tamplin, Mark L.

PUBLISH DATE:  November 1, 1994

AVAILABLE FROM:  National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Region, P.O. Box 12607, Charleston, SC 29412.  PHONE: (803) 762-8526

ABSTRACT

The steady economic decline in molluscan shellfish industries can be attributed, in part, to the impact of Vibrio vulnificus on public awareness of seafood safety.   Although the number of V. vulnificus cases is low compared to the estimated 9,000,000 annual foodborne illness, and associated > 9,000 deaths, the inability to predict risk based on fecal coliform standards has compelled public health agencies to consider new control practices.  It is well established that environmental levels of V. vulnificus parallel the incidence of clinical illness, supporting the hypothesis that V. vulnificus disease is related to increased bacterial concentration. In cold winter months, V. vulnificus cannot be readily detected in shellfish, and no human disease occurs. This has raised the question, "Where does V. vulnificus reside during cold months, and from what reservoir(s) does it reappear?" Some scientists propose that low temperature causes V. vulnificus to exist in a viable, but nonculturable (VBNC) form that becomes culturable when water temperature increases.

 
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