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Hee Jung Lee 1 Article
Distribution of Pathogenic Vibrio Species in the Coastal Seawater of South Korea (2017–2018)
Seung Hun Lee, Hee Jung Lee, Go Eun Myung, Eun Jin Choi, In A Kim, Young Il Jeong, Gi Jun Park, Sang Moon Soh
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2019;10(6):337-342.   Published online December 31, 2019
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AbstractAbstract PDF

Pathogenic Vibrio species are widely distributed in warm estuarine and coastal environments, and can infect humans through the consumption of raw or mishandled contaminated seafood and seawater. For this reason, the distribution of these bacteria in South Korea was investigated.


Seawater samples were collected from 145 coastal area points in the aquatic environment in which Vibrio species live. Environmental data (i.e., water temperature, salinity, turbidity, and atmospheric temperature) was collected which may help predict the distribution of the species (data not shown). Seawater samples were filtered, and incubated overnight in alkaline peptone water, at 37°C. Using species-specific polymerase chain reaction methods, screening tests were performed for the hlyA, ctxA, vvhA, and tlh genes. Clones of pathogenic Vibrio species were isolated using 3 selective plating media.


In 2017, total seawater isolation rates for Vibrio vulnificus, Vibrio cholerae (non-pathogenic, non-O1, non-O139 serogroups), and Vibrio parahaemolyticus were 15.82%, 13.18%, 65.80%, respectively. However, in 2018 isolation rates for each were 21.81%, 19.40%, and 70.05%, respectively.


The isolation rates of pathogenic Vibrio species positively correlated with the temperature of seawater and atmosphere, but negatively correlated with salinity and turbidity. From 2017 to 2018, the most frequent seawater-isolated Vibrio species were V. parahaemolyticus (68.10 %), V. vulnificus (16.54%), and non-toxigenic V. cholerae (19.58%). Comprehensive monitoring, prevention, and control efforts are needed to protect the public from pathogenic Vibrio species.


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