John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Shellfish and non-cholera vibrios in coastal waters: Characterization of human exposure Volume 7, issue 3, Mai-Juin 2008


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Service des études médicales d’EDF-Gaz de France, 22-28 rue Joubert, 75009 Paris, École des hautes études en santé publique (EHESP), Laboratoire d’études et de recherche en environnement et santé, avenue du professeur Léon-Bernard, 35043 Rennes, EDF Recherche et Développement, Laboratoire national hydraulique et environnement (LNHE), 6, quai Watier, 78401 Chatou, Agence française de sécurité sanitaire des aliments (Afssa), Unité écotoxicologie-environnement, Afssa- Direction du végétal et de l’environnement (Afssa-DiVE), 10, rue Pierre Curie, 94704 Maisons-Alfort, Agence française de sécurité sanitaire de l’environnement et du travail (Afsset), Unité Recherche et veille scientifique, 253, avenue du général Leclerc, 94701 Maisons-Alfort

Non-cholera Vibrio infections have increased in developed countries, and this phenomenon is expected to amplify due to climate change, the rise of shellfish consumption, and the number of immunocompromised people. Microbial risk assessment (MRA) characterises and quantifies the likelihood of adverse human health effects associated with exposure to pathogenic microorganisms. Exposure assessment, which is a step of MRA, identifies potentially exposed populations and estimates the dose to which they are likely to be exposed. This paper focuses on the characterisation of human exposure to three species of Vibrio, representing nearly 75% of non-cholera Vibrio infections: Vibrio cholerae non-O1/non-O139, V. parahaemolyticus and V. vulnificus. Not enough data are available for cutaneous infections (wounds), but exposure assessment for ingestion route is possible. We review different types of information: virulence, type of shellfish or other seafood involved and their mean consumption, population sensitivity (normal or susceptible), initial concentration of pathogens in water or seafood, effect of storage in ambient air, and effects of refrigeration, freezing and cooking. Storage at ambient temperature is a key step in vibrio development, and neither freezing nor cooking are always sufficient to eliminate them. The risk develops during the steps between harvesting and consumption, and the most effective prevention measures must be taken then.