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Vibrio choleraein a historically cholera-free country

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Abstract

We report the autochthonous existence ofVibrio choleraein coastal waters of Iceland, a geothermally active country where cholera is absent and has never been reported. Seawater, mussel and macroalgae samples were collected close to, and distant from, sites where geothermal activity causes a significant increase in water temperature during low tides.Vibrio choleraewas detected only at geothermal-influenced sites during low-tides. None of theV. choleraeisolates encoded cholera toxin (ctxAB) and all were non-O1/non-O139 serogroups. However, all isolates encoded other virulence factors that are associated with cholera as well as extra-intestinalV. choleraeinfections. The virulence factors were functional at temperatures of coastal waters of Iceland, suggesting an ecological role. It is noteworthy thatV. choleraewas isolated from samples collected at sites distant from anthropogenic influence, supporting the conclusion thatV. choleraeis autochthonous to the aquatic environment of Iceland.

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