This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of Vibrio spp. in retail seafood in Berlin, Germany. A total of 160 raw seafood samples from supermarkets and seafood shops, consisting of shrimp (n = 80) and bivalves (n = 80), were investigated for the presence of Vibrio spp. using the International Organization for Standardization ISO/TS 21872 method and a multiplex PCR. The overall prevalence of Vibrio spp. in retail seafood was 55% (95% CI: 47.2 to 62.8%). The prevalence of Vibrio spp. in shrimp was slightly higher than in bivalves (57.5 versus 52.5%); however, the difference was not statistically significant. Vibrio alginolyticus was the most prevalent species (35.6%), followed by Vibrio parahaemolyticus (27.5%), Vibrio cholerae (6.3%), and Vibrio vulnificus (0.6%). None of the V. parahaemolyticus (n = 110) isolates encoded tdh/trh genes, whereas all V. cholerae isolates (n = 27) were lacking ctxA. Among the chilled samples (n = 105), the prevalence of Vibrio spp. in unpacked samples was significantly higher than in packed samples (P = 0.006). Among the packed samples (n = 55), no significant difference in the prevalence of Vibrio spp. was observed between chilled or frozen products. The results of this study indicated a high prevalence of Vibrio spp. in retail seafood in Germany; positive samples were detected in all types of seafood investigated. The detection of tdh/trh-negative V. parahaemolyticus isolates should not be neglected because of previous findings on pathogenic strains lacking these virulence markers. Even though thorough cooking might limit the risk of foodborne illness caused by Vibrio, potential cross-contamination during preparation or consumption of raw and undercooked seafood might represent a risk of Vibrio infections.

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