Eating Habit Cultivated by Tradition, Culture, and Religion is an Effective Means for Prevention of a Major Seafood-borne Infectious Disease: A Comparative Study on Infection by Vibrio Parahaemolyticus in Thailand and Indonesia

Mitsuaki Nishibuchi,


Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University


(with Rika Shimizu, Koji Seo, Varaporn Vuddhakul,
Abdul Aziz Djamal, and Yoshitsugu Nakaguchi)



Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a marine bacterium and a virulent strain of this bacterium can cause diarrhea through consumption of contaminated seafood. Our collaborative studies starting in India and extending into a multinational collaboration demonstrated that a new clone of V. parahaemolyticus emerged around 1996 in Asia and the infection spread to various parts of the world. The number of the infections was very high, and was therefore deemed a pandemic of V. parahaemolyticus infection for the first time in the history of V. parahaemolyticus study. We have reported extensive infections by the new clone of V. parahaemolyticus in Thailand. The studies in Thailand also demonstrated bivalve mollusks including bloody clam (Anadara granosa), hard clam (Meretrix lusoria), and green mussel (Perna viridis) are the source of the infection by the new clone of V. parahaemolyticus.


Around Padang, West Sumatora in Indonesia, we did not find patients infected with V. parahaemolyticus among those with diarrhea in spite of an extensive effort although the bivalves sold in this area are contaminated with virulent strains of V. parahaemolyticus. Eating habits of bivalve mollusks was investigated in this area. Comparison of the result of investigation and that in Thailand suggested different eating habits cultivated by tradition, culture, and religion may explain the difference in infection by V. parahaemolyticus between the two countries. The results of these studies may allow us to conclude that improvement of eating habits can be a very effective means for prevention of V. parahaemolyticus infection.


(Presented in the International Conference – Thai Food Heritage: Local to Global, 4-6 August 2009, Tawana Bangkok Hotel, Bangkok, organized by The Project of Empowering Network for International Thai Studies (ENITS), Institute of Thai Studies, Chulalongkorn University with support from the Thailand Research Fund (TRF))