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Summary

Vibrio parahaemolyticus is one of the principal bacterial causes for seafood-borne gastroenteritis in the world. In the present study, three sites located on the French Atlantic coast were monitored monthly for environmental parameters over 1 year. The presence of total and pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus in sediment, water and mussel samples was detected following enrichment by culture and real-time PCR (toxR gene, tdh, trh1 and trh2 virulence genes). Using generalized linear models, we showed that the presence of V. parahaemolyticus in water could be explained by a combination of mean temperature over the 7 days before the day of sampling (P < 0.001) and turbidity (P = 0.058). In mussels, an effect of chlorophyll a (P = 0.005) was detected when an effect of the mean salinity over the 7 days before sampling was significant for the sediment (P < 0.001). We did not detect any significant effect of phytoplanktonic blooms or of the number of culturable bacteria on V. parahaemolyticus presence. No sample was revealed positive for tdh. The presence of trh1 and trh2 was positively influenced by the mean temperature during the 2 days before the day of sampling (P < 0.001 and P = 0.032). The importance of these ecological parameters is discussed in relation to the biology of V. parahaemolyticus.