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Determining whether Vibrio species is the cause of diarrhea and, in turn, identifying the source of the infectious agent
Diarrhea may be caused by a number of agents (eg, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and chemicals) and these agents may result in similar symptoms. A thorough patient history covering symptoms, severity and duration of illness, age, travel history, food consumption, history of recent antibiotic use, and illnesses in the family or other contacts will help the physician determine the appropriate testing to be performed.
Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of endemic, epidemic, and pandemic cholera, results in large volumes of rice-water stools due to the production of an enterotoxin. Severe dehydration is of concern in patients without access to adequate medical care. In the United States, Vibrio parahemolyticus is the most common cause of Vibrio disease. Vibrio parahemolyticus is associated with the consumption of raw shellfish or fish and results in gastroenteritis with nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, low-grade fever, and chills. Usually rehydration is the only treatment required, although in some cases, antimicrobial therapy is needed.
The growth of Vibrio species identifies the cause of diarrhea.
The yield of enteric pathogens is reduced when specimens are delayed in transit to the laboratory (>2 hours from collection for unpreserved specimen).
Buffered glycerol saline is an unacceptable transport media for Vibrio culture.
Clinical pathologic correlative studies.
Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R: Principle's and Practice of Infectious Disease. Sixth edition. Philadelphia, Elsevier Inc. 2005, pp 2536-2548