1997 Volume 71 Issue 10 Pages 1037-1045
A total of 1898 strains of Vibrio cholerae non-O1 non-O139, which had been collected worldwide for the past 3 year period of 1994-1996, were serogrouped. The strains were also examined for presence of cholera toxin (CT) gene (ctx) and NAG-ST gene, and strains which carried the ctx were further analyzed for their ability to produce CT. In addition, attempts were made to establish novel serogroups for those serologically untypable strains.
Of those examined, 1, 774 strains of V. cholerae non-O1 non-O139 was classified into 128 known serogroups while 50 strains were found to belong to R type, and the rest of the 74 strains could not be serotyped. Distribution of the serogroups did not seem to correspond to either the strains' geographic distribution or sources of isolation.
Of those serologically untypable strains, 38 novel serogroups (O156-O193) were established and added to our reference of V. cholerae antigenic schema. It was also found that antisera raised against many V. cholerae strains included R antibodies. This indicates that any V. cholerae antisera for diagnostic purpose should be absorbed with the reference R strains, CA385, before use.
There were luminescence producing strains among those sucrose and VP reaction negative strains. Subsequent DNA/DNA homology analysis revealed that they were identified as V. cholerae. This points to a possibility that strains tentatively identified as Vibrio mimicus by conventional biochemical tests may have included luminescent strains of V. cholerae. It is thushighly recommended that strains in question should be tested for the luminescence production in order to differentiate V. cholerae from V. mimicus.
Of those 1989 strains examined, 37 strains (ca. 2%) were found to produce CT. Interestingly, CT producing strains were prevalent in serogroup O141 ; 10 strains out of 16 strains (63%) were positive for CT. The evidence calls for a caution to possible occurrence of cholera-like diarrhea caused by V. cholerae O141 in the future.