ABSTRACT: Vibrio parahaemolyticus has been one of the most important foodborne pathogens in Japan since the 1960s, and a large epidemic was caused by the pandemic serotype O3:K6 from 1997 to 2001. V. parahaemolyticus infections, however, have sharply declined since that time. Data on serotypes isolated from 977 outbreaks were collected and analysed. Total and pathogenic, thermostable direct hemolysin (TDH) gene-positive V. parahaemolyticus were qualitatively and quantitatively detected in 842 seafood samples from wholesale markets in 2007-2009. Strains isolated from patients and seafood were analysed by serotyping, tdh-PCR, group-specific PCR for pandemic strains, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The sharp decrease in the infections from 1999 onwards was noted not only for O3:K6 infections but also for other serotypes. The change in the seafood contamination situation from 2001 to 2007-2009 was characterised by a decrease to three-fourths in the frequency of tdh-positive samples, although that decrease was small compared to the 18-fold decrease in the cases of V. parahaemolyticus outbreaks. PFGE detected the pandemic O3:K6 serotype in the same profile in seafood and patients from 1998 to the present. Because of no large decrease in seafood contamination by V. parahaemolyticus from the production to distribution stages and the presence of pandemic O3:K6 serotype in seafood to the present, it was suggested that the change of seafood contamination was unrelated to the sharp decrease in V. parahaemolyticus infections. V. parahaemolyticus infections might be prevented at the stages after the distribution stage.
International journal of food microbiology 05/2012; 157(1):95-101. · 3.01 Impact Factor