New Causative Bacteria of Food Poisoning

Sumio Shinoda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The number of outbreaks of food poisoning in Japan is more than thousand per year. Of the outbreaks which causative agents were determined, 80 to 90 % are due to bacteria, such as Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella and so on. In recent years, gastroenteritis due to bacteria other than well known food poisoning bacteria is attracting notice. Therefore, the Ministry of Welfare designated these bacteria as new causative organisms of food poisoning in March, 1982. NAG vibrio is a group of V. cholerae but does not agglutinate with antiserum against somatic (O) antigen of cholera vibrio (O1 V. cholerae'). NAG vibrio distributes in natural water, from fresh water to marine water, and some strains cause cholera like diarrhea. V. fluvialis, a slightly halophilic bacterium, inhabits in estuarine and marine area, whereas Plesiomonas and Aeromonas inhabit in fresh water, although they are included in family Vibrionaceae. These bacteria also cause gastroenteritis. Yersinia enterocolitica is widely carried in domestic and wild animals, cause enteritis accompanied with diarrhea and abdominal pain, and is rarely isolated from cases of arthritis, erythema nosdosum and septicemia. The fact that the organism is a psychrophilic bacterium brings forward a sanitation problem in cold storage of foods. Campylobacter jejuni/coli, a microaerobic bacterium, is widespread in animals, especially in avian hosts. The organism known as an etiologic agent for infectious abortion or placentitis also cause acute enteritis. It is said that the etiologic significance of the organism as a pathogen for sporadic diarrheal cases is more important than that of Salmonella. Although gastroenteritis due to enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) are well known, the fact that some strains of E. coli other than EPEC also cause gastroenteritis was confirmed in the last decade. These are enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) and enteroinvasive E. coli. ETEC produce two kinds of enterotoxin, heat-stable toxin (ST) and heat-labile toxin (LT). LT has immunological cross reactivity with cholera toxin (CT), and the mechanism of action and molecular construction are also similar to those of CT. Therefore, the investigation of ETEC progressed with that of cholera vibrio, and the progress stimulated the study of other enteropathogenic bacteria described above.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-44
Number of pages12
Journaleisei kagaku
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1983


  • Aeromonas hydrophila
  • Campylobacter
  • Plesiomonas shigelliodes
  • Vibrio cholerae
  • Vibrio fluvialis
  • enterotoxigenic
  • food poisoning
  • jejuni/coli Yersinia enterocolitica

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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