The current standard method for identifying Vibrio parahaemolyticus serotype O3:K6, an emerging pathogen with apparent enhanced virulence characteristics, typically takes 4 to 6 d to complete and requires serotyping. To provide a more rapid strategy, we optimized a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay for specific detection of V. parahaemolyticus O3:K6. Of 78 V. parahaemolyticus isolates and other related species; only strains classified into the V. parahaemolyticus O3:K6 clonal group (n = 39) showed positive results in the PCR assay. The assay detected 2.3 cells/PCR reaction and 310 cells/g using bacterial cultures and inoculated oyster samples, respectively. Sensitive and specific detection of V. parahaemolyticus O3:K6 was possible following a 6-h enrichment.



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