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Whole genome sequencing reveals great diversity of Vibrio spp in prawns at retail
Microbial Genomics  (IF5.237),  Pub Date : 2021-09-29, DOI: 10.1099/mgen.0.000647
Nicol Janecko, Samuel J. Bloomfield, Raphaëlle Palau and Alison E. Mather

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.