Whole genome sequencing reveals great diversity of Vibrio spp in prawns at retail

Nicol Janecko, Samuel J. Bloomfield, Raphaëlle Palau, Alison E. Mather

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Consumption of prawns as a protein source has been on the rise worldwide with seafood identified as the predominant attributable source of human vibriosis. However, surveillance of non-cholera Vibrio is limited both in public health and in food. Using a population- and market share-weighted study design, 211 prawn samples were collected and cultured for Vibrio spp. Contamination was detected in 46 % of samples, and multiple diverse Vibrio isolates were obtained from 34 % of positive samples. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) and phylogenetic analysis illustrated a comprehensive view of Vibrio species diversity in prawns available at retail, with no known pathogenicity markers identified in Vibrio parahaemolyticus and V. cholerae . Antimicrobial resistance genes were found in 77 % of isolates, and 12 % carried genes conferring resistance to three or more drug classes. Resistance genes were found predominantly in V. parahaemolyticus , though multiple resistance genes were also identified in V. cholerae and V. vulnificus . This study highlights the large diversity in Vibrio derived from prawns at retail, even within a single sample. Although there was little evidence in this study that prawns are a major source of vibriosis in the UK, surveillance of non-cholera Vibrio is very limited. This study illustrates the value of expanding WGS surveillance efforts of non-cholera Vibrios in the food chain to identify critical control points for food safety through the production system and to determine the full extent of the public health impact.
Original languageEnglish
Article number000647
JournalMicrobial Genomics
Issue number9
Early online date29 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

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