Of 28 isolates of non-O1 (10 from diarrhoeal patients and 18 from environmental sources) examined for haemolytic activity and its correlation, if any, with enterotoxic activity, 24 showed haemolysis. The four non-haemolytic isolates showed haemolysis after consecutive passages through rabbit ileal loops (RILs). The titres of haemolytic activity were 4-64 HU/ml irrespective of their source. Eight (28.5%) of the non-O1 isolates caused fluid accumulation; six (25%) were haemolytic and two (50%) non-haemolytic. The remaining isolates showed enterotoxic activity after one-to-three consecutive passages through RILs irrespective of their haemolytic character and source. Environmental isolates caused significantly more fluid accumulation than the diarrhoeal isolates. All these isolates reverted to their original non-toxigenic character on repeated subculture or on storage in the laboratory, but continued to show haemolytic activity. The results of the present study indicate that non-O1 strains are potentially enterotoxigenic independent of their haemolytic character and source, and enterotoxin, not haemolysin, is the factor most likely to be responsible for their enterotoxic activity.


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