Vibrio vulnificus & V. parahaemolyticus

Secure Food Solutions, Inc. has separate diagnostic tests to detect and enumerate Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus in shellfish and environmental samples.  V. vulnificus is the leading cause of death in the US related to seafood consumption and is predominantly associated with consumption of raw oysters. V. parahaemolyticus is the most common source of outbreaks of infectious disease related to seafood.

Vibrio outbreaks are a serious and growing public hazard for people in coastal areas around the world. Vibrio infections can cause acute diarrhea, blood poisoning, and necrotizing fasciitis ("flesh eating"). Vibrio infections are responsible for about 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths in the US every year.  

Vibrio bacteria are found naturally in warm coastal waters and estuaries around the world. Half of the cases of Vibrio infection are foodborne, primarily from contaminated oysters. Non-foodborne infections occur mainly through open wound exposed to brackish or salt water.

Rising sea temperatures and increased frequency of extreme weather events are leading to higher Vibrio levels for longer periods of time throughout the year in more coastal areas around the world. It's important for shellfish processors and coastal monitoring agencies to include rapid vibrio tests as part of their risk management toolkit to identify contaminated shellfish, and prevent infections and outbreaks.

Challenges to routine diagnostic testing

Current monitoring practices do not include Vibrio tests, because existing methods to detect and quantify Vibrio are laborious, inefficient, and/or expensive, limiting their application and/or the capacity of analytical laboratories.  Culture media cannot detect and quantify the presence and amount of pathogenic Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus with accuracy or speed. PCR methods to detect and quantify Vibrio are so laborious and expensive that few laboratories in the world have analytical capabilities to produce reliable results, and the capacity at labs that do is very limited.