Original Research

Virulence factors in environmental and clinical Vibrio cholerae from endemic areas in Kenya

Racheal W. Kimani, Anne W. T. Muigai, Willie Sang, John N. Kiiru, Samuel Kariuki
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 3, No 1 | a41 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v3i1.41 | © 2014 Racheal W. Kimani, Anne W. T. Muigai, Willie Sang, John N. Kiiru, Samuel Kariuki | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 April 2012 | Published: 17 October 2014

About the author(s)

Racheal W. Kimani, Institute of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
Anne W. T. Muigai, Faculty of Science, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
Willie Sang, Centre for Microbiology Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya
John N. Kiiru, Centre for Microbiology Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya
Samuel Kariuki, Centre for Microbiology Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya


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Abstract

Background: Since 1971, Kenya has had repeated cholera outbreaks. However, the cause of seasonal epidemics of cholera is not fully understood and neither are the factors that drive epidemics, both in Kenya and globally.

Objectives: The objectives of the study were to determine the environmental reservoirs of V. cholerae during an interepidemic period in Kenya and to characterise their virulence factors.

Methods: One hundred (50 clinical, 50 environmental) samples were tested for V. cholerae isolates using both simplex and multiplex polymerase chain reaction.

Results: Both sediments and algae from fishing and landing bays yielded isolates of V. cholerae. Clinical strains were characterised along with the environmental strains for comparison. All clinical strains harboured ctxAtcpA (El Tor), ompU, zot, acetoxR, hylA (El Tor) and tcpI genes. Prevalence for virulence genes in environmental strains was hylA (El Tor) (10%), toxR (24%), zot (22%), ctxA (12%),tcpI (8%), hylA (26%) and tcpA (12%).

Conclusion: The study sites, including landing bays and beaches, contained environmental V. cholerae, suggesting that these may be reservoirs for frequent epidemics. Improved hygiene and fish-handling techniques will be important in reducing the persistence of reservoirs.


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Crossref Citations

1. Virulence factor activity relationships (VFARs): a bioinformatics perspective
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doi: 10.1039/C6EM00689B