Filamentous Phage Associated with Recent Pandemic Strains of Vibrio parahaemolyticus

Tetsuya Iida, Akiko Hattori, Kenichi Tagomori, Hatsumi Nasu, Rochman Naim, Takeshi Honda, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka, Japan.


Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2001;7(3) 

In This Article


Our study shows that the filamentous phage f237 is associated not only with O3:K6 serovar but also with other recently emerging serovars of V. parahaemolyticus. In the 55 strains showing PFGE genotypes closely related to those of the recent O3:K6 strains, >96% was positive for the ORF8 (). Such high prevalence of the phage f237 in the V. parahaemolyticus strains showing pandemic spread suggests that the phage might confer a so-far-unknown phenotype to the bacterium. The phenotype might, in turn, protect the organism against selective pressure in a certain environment before it infects humans. Whether phage f237 has played a part in the recently increasing pandemic potency of strains of V. parahaemolyticus is a subject for further study.

The virulence of V. parahaemolyticus extends beyond acute gastroenteritis: it can also cause wound infections and septicemia[5]. Physicians everywhere need to be alert to the possibility of infection from these recently emergent strains. To distinguish the new and increasingly common V. parahaemolyticus strains from classic ones, ORF8 is a useful genetic marker.


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