Y-015. Growth of Yersinia pestis at 40C

S. Torosian1, A. Margolin1, P. Regan2, T. Doran3;
1Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, 2US FDA, Winchester, MA, 3Massachusetts Dept. of Pub. Hlth., Jamaica Plain, MA.

Human enteric pathogens characteristically do not grow or survive at refrigeration temperatures such as 4°C. For proper surveillance of potentially adulterated foods, it is important to evaluate certain pathogens that could be used as a bioterrorist threat at refrigerated temperature. In this study, the doubling time for ten strains of Yersinia pestis (Y. pestis) of different genetic background cultured in Heart Infusion Broth (HIB) kept at 4°C was evaluated. Nine strains were able to grow at this temperature for the duration of the study, seventy days. Doubling times for eight strains ranged from 41 to 50 h. The Harbin strain had a doubling time of 81 h and strain O19 Ca- did not grow. The data presented here demonstrates that refrigeration alone does not prevent growth of Y. pestis and that refrigerated foods intentionally seeded with Y. pestis could become a threat after escaping detection for a prolonged period. Results presented here will contribute to regulatory efforts to develop and implement an appropriate, effective strategy for counter-terrorism screening efforts.

185/Y. Molecular Epidemiology

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