In this project, we will define infectious doses of V. vulnificus in implicated shellfish via DNA fingerprinting techniques of clinical V. vulnificus strains. This effort will utilize an established network of laboratories at US FDA, CDC, and state agencies. In addition, trace-lot studies will be conducted from harvest to consumer to determine the effect of industry practices on changes in critical levels of pathogenic V. vulnificus strains. This effort will be important to understand the effect of new time-temperature shellfish handling criteria proposed by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC). We anticipate that this research project will result in microbiological criteria necessary to establish effective HACCP programs for the shellfish industry and thereby minimize V. vulnificus health risks.
Of all seafood-borne illnesses, Vibrio vulnificus is the leading cause of reported human mortality. The scientific community has learned many important aspects about V. vulnificus. However, today, public health agencies recognize that the most critical information is still lacking to control this disease, specifically:<br>
1) the infective dose and <br>
2) understanding the specific critical control points, from harvest to consumption, that affect growth of V. vulnificus. </p>