Turtles Bred for Food in Asia Can Transport Cholera

Large-scale turtle breeding has expanded rapidly in China, the authors noted. At the same time, turtles infected with the bacteria causing cholera — Vibrio cholerae — have been found in shipments throughout Asia, from Bangladesh to Japan.

The scientists made Vibrio bacteria easily detectable by inserting into them genes for bioluminescent proteins, then dipped some turtles into a Vibrio solution for two hours before rinsing them off. The researchers also pumped the solution into the stomachs of some turtles.

Within days, the scientists found the bacteria growing all over the turtles’ shells, limbs and necks, and in the calipash, the gelatinous green layer beneath the shell that is considered a delicacy in Asia. The researchers also discovered the bacteria in the intestines of some turtles.

Vibrio bacteria flourish in the brackish…

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