This study examined the occurrence of V. parahaemolyticus from ready-to-eat (RTE) food in Delta State, Nigeria. It also characterized antibiotic resistance and virulence gene profile patterns to determine the associated health risk hazard. Food samples total of 380 were collected randomly and assessed for V. parahaemolyticus. V. parahaemolyticus isolates were characterized for their virulence and antibiogram potentials using a phenotypic and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) approach. A total of 42 (11.1%) samples were contaminated with V. parahaemolyticus. In 17/42 (40.5%) of the V. parahaemolyticus-positive samples, the densities were < 10 MPN/g. However, 19/42 (45.2%) and 6/42 (14.3%) of the samples had densities of 10 – 102 and > 102 MPN/g, respectively. A total of 67 V. parahaemolyticus isolates were identified using PCR; 54(80.6%) isolates were multidrug resistant. A total of 22 (32.8%), 39 (58.2%), and 67 (100%) of the V. parahaemolyticus harbored the tdh, trh, and tlh toxin genes, respectively. The T3SS1 gene (vcrD1) was detected in 67 (100%) of the isolates. The T3SS2α genes which were vcrD2, vopB2, and vopT were detected in 21 (31.3%), 11 (16.4%) and 30 (44.8%) of the isolates respectively. Some of the V. parahaemolytics strains harbored the orf8 gene 20 (29.9%), and a combination of orf8 + tdh genes 12 (17.9%), categorized as pandemic strains. The antibiotic resistance genes detected in this study include blaTEM 33 (49.3), tetM 19 (28.4), cmlA 32(47.8) and sul1 14 (20.9). The concentration levels and prevalence of V. parahaemolyticus in RTE foods indicate contamination of ready-to-eat foods, particularly street foods consumed in the Delta State of Nigeria, threatening public health and consumer safety.
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