Survival of Vibrio cholerae O1 on fomites

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It is well established that the contamination sources of cholera causing bacteria, Vibrio cholerae, are water and food, but little is known about the transmission role of the fomites (surfaces that can carry pathogens) commonly used in households. In the absence of appropriate nutrients or growth conditions on fomites, bacteria have been known to assume a viable but non-culturable (VBNC) state after a given period of time. To investigate whether and when V. cholerae O1 assumes such a state, this study investigated the survival and viable quantification on a range of fomites such as paper, wood, glass, plastic, cloth and several types of metals under laboratory conditions. The fomites were inoculated with an outbreak strain of V. cholerae and its culturability was examined by drop plate count method at 30 min intervals for up to 6 h. For molecular detection, the viable/dead stain ethidium monoazide (EMA) which inhibits amplification of DNA from dead cells was used in combination with real-time polymerase chain reaction (EMA-qPCR) for direct quantitative analyses of viable V. cholerae at 2, 4, 6, 24 h and 7 day time intervals. Results showed that V. cholerae on glass and aluminum surfaces lost culturability within one hour after inoculation but remained culturable on cloth and wood for up to four hours. VBNC V. cholerae on dry fomite surfaces was detected and quantified by EMA-qPCR even 7 days after inoculation. In conclusion, the prolonged survival of V. cholerae on various household fomites may play vital role in cholera transmission and needs to be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146
JournalWorld Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016

    Research areas

  • EMA-qPCR, Fomites, Survival, VBNC, Vibrio cholerae

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