The halophilic marine bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a zoonotic pathogen associated with wild-caught and farmed shrimp. The bacterium is an important cause of gastroenteritis associated with the consumption of raw or undercooked seafood. In the present study, the prevalence and human pathogenic potential of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Penaeus vannamei (tissue and hepatopancreas) and the farm environment (water and sediment) was investigated by conventional culture and molecular techniques. The total Vibrio counts of P. vannamei ranged from <1 CFU/mL in hemolymph to 7.61 log CFU/g in the hepatopancreas. The sediment samples consistently showed the counts of 6-7 log CFU/g, while the pond water had Vibrio counts in the range of 2-3 log CFU/ml. Of 120 Vibrio isolates identified, 87 were confirmed as V. parahaemolyticus based on the toxR and tlh gene-specific PCR. The virulence marker gene tdh was not detected in any of the isolates, while the trh gene was detected in 3 (3.6%) isolates. Although the incidence of pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus in farmed P. vannamei is low, the high numbers of total vibrios and V. parahaemolyticus demand constant monitoring of animals and the farm environment for human pathogenic strains of V. parahaemolyticus.
Vibrio parahaemolyticus, pathogenic, zoonotic, shrimp, virulence
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