Study finds new bacterial strain can contaminate shellfish

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CONCORD, N.H. — Researchers have found a new strain of bacteria thriving along the Atlantic Coast that can contaminate shellfish and sicken seafood lovers.

Cheryl Whistler and her colleagues at the University of New Hampshire discovered the new strain of the leading seafood-transmitted bacterial pathogen in the world.

Whistler is hoping the discovery of what they call ST631 will give public health agencies along the Atlantic Coast and in Canada the data they need to develop tools to reduce the risk of of sickness from eating contaminated shellfish.

The research is detailed in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

ST631 is a strain of the bacteria, known as Vibrio parahaemolyticus (VIB’-ree-oh peh-ruh-hee-moh-LIT’-ih-kus). It causes an estimated 45,000 infections in the U.S. each year. Symptoms of an infection include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

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