In September 2022, Hurricane Ian hit Southwest Florida, causing various disasters Vibrio Bacteria that can cause illness and death in humans, according to new study published in the journal Mbio.
A team of researchers from the University of Maryland, the University of Florida, and microbiome company EzBiome combined genome sequencing and satellite and environmental data to detect several pathogenic bacteria. Vibrio species in water and oyster samples from Lee County, Florida, a coastal region devastated by Hurricane Ian. The samples were collected in October 2022 and revealed the presence of two species of particular concern: Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio vulnificus.
“We were very surprised that we were able to detect the presence of these pathogens without any difficulty,” said Rita Colwell, senior author of the study and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computing Studies (UMIACS). Have you studied Vibrio the past 50 years.
The study’s results correspond with an increase in reports Vibrio vulnificus In October 2022, cases of Vibrio infection appeared in Florida. Lee County, which has the highest number of cases in the state, reported 38 vibriosis-related infections and 11 deaths, according to the Florida Department of Health.
Vibrio Bacteria occur naturally in the ocean, living in symbiotic relationships with crustaceans, zooplankton and bivalves.When the bacteria come into contact with humans, some species may cause an infection called vibriosis, but side effects depend on the type of bacteria Vibrio and severity of infection. Vibrio parahaemolyticus Can cause gastroenteritis and wound infection, while Vibrio vulnificus This species can cause necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating infection, and kills one in five people infected.
People can become infected with Vibrio by eating raw or undercooked seafood or by contact with seawater in an open wound.because Vibrio It thrives in warm, salty water, and hurricanes and floods can increase exposure.
Some conditions conducive to growth during and after Hurricane Ian Vibrio bacteria, including rainfall, changes in sea surface temperatures and the concentration of chlorophyll in the ocean, which can indicate the density of phytoplankton and subsequently zooplankton in an area.Where plankton blooms occur, researchers have found massive Vibrio bacteria.
As warming oceans are expected to trigger wetter, more powerful storms like Iain, coastal communities could see more Vibriofuture infections.
“Estos Vibrio Generally grow well between 15 and 40 degrees Celsius (59 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit), so as temperatures rise, their reproductive time will shorten and they will divide faster and faster. Colwell said. “The ocean water warms, mixes with the fresh water, and creates optimal salinity—really promoting growth.” Vibrio, so this is a very serious problem. “
Although environmental conditions in Florida were ripe for Vibrio infections after Hurricane Ian, these cases were not limited to the South. In August 2023, three people died in New York and Connecticut Vibrio vulnificus Infect.
Colwell and her co-authors, who include Kyle Brumfield ’23, Ph.D., Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences, and Anwar Huq, UMD research professor of cell biology and molecular genetics, predicted the recent surge in vibriosis cases based on trending environmental conditions in the Northeastern United States. department. Colwell said the rapidly warming Chesapeake Bay could also be affected as ocean temperatures continue to rise.
“Florida’s water is much warmer than the Chesapeake Bay right now, but it’s getting warmer along much of the East Coast,” Colwell said. “This is a threatening sign that we may see more Vibrio vulnificus Infect.
Colwell and her co-authors noted that while they only analyzed a limited number of samples, their findings illustrate the potential of genetic analysis, environmental data and remote sensing to improve public health by proactively detecting and characterizing Vibrio pathogens.
They also called for further investigation to quantify the prevalence Vibrio Bacteria in different locations, seasons and environmental conditions. Colwell said the research is not only critical for public health but also an important step toward understanding climate change.
“On the positive side, knowing that these infections are associated with increased variability in climate change, maybe now is the time to develop mechanisms to understand and mitigate it,” Colwell said. “Climate change and flooding are clearly linked to infectious diseases , we need to take it seriously.”