Volume 52, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



In 1992, a serologically novel clone of , designated O139, caused large epidemics of diarrhea in India and Bangladesh. To determine the extent of the spread of O139 worldwide, 484 non-O1 strains isolated from different patients with diarrhea in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Peru in 1993 were tested for agglutination in O139 antisera. One hundred fifty-one of these 484 isolates were examined for genes encoding cholera toxin, zonula occlulans toxin, the repetitive sequence 1, and the toxin coregulated pilin A (the virulence gene complex). Thirty-three percent (122 of 364) of non-O1 strains isolated from different patients with diarrhea in Thailand agglutinated in O139 antisera. Ninety-eight percent (120 of 122) of O139 contained the virulence gene complex. None of the 104 non-O1 strains isolated from patients with diarrhea in Indonesia or the 14 strains from patients with diarrhea in the Philippines were serotype O139. Four different ribotypes were found in O139 isolated in Asia. Twenty-three (47%) of 49 Thai O139 strains examined were of different ribotypes than isolates from India and Bangladesh; strains that were not O1 or O139 that were isolated from flies and water in Thailand 11 years previously in 1981 contained the same virulence gene complex found in O1 and O139. This suggests that other unidentified virulence determinants are involved in O139 pathogenesis.


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