PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to investigate the genetic diversity of V.cholerae in Sabah and whether V.cholerae in Sabah belong to atypical El Tor biotype.
METHODS: ERIC-PCR, a DNA fingerprinting method for bacterial pathogens based on the enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus sequence, was used to study the genetic diversity of 65 clinical V.cholerae O1 isolates from 3 districts (Kudat, Beluran, Sandakan) in Sabah and one environmental isolate from coastal sea water in Kudat district. In addition, we studied the biotype-specific genetic traits in these isolates to establish their biotype.
RESULTS: Different fingerprint patterns were seen in isolates from these three districts but one of the patterns was seen in more than one district. Clinical isolates and environmental isolate have different patterns. In addition, Sabah isolates harbor genetic traits specific to both classical biotype (ctxB-1, rstRCla) and El Tor biotype (rstRET, rstC, tcpAET, rtxC, VC2346).
CONCLUSION: This study revealed that V.cholerae in Sabah were genetically diverse and were atypical El Tor strains. Fingerprint patterns of these isolates will be useful in tracing the origin of this pathogen in the future.