New study points to concerns about dangerous Vibrio bacteria in Florida coastal waters after Hurricane Ian – News

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.

The study, conducted in October 2022 by researchers at the University of Florida and the University of Maryland, was based on genome sequencing and satellite and environmental data collected along the Lee County coast where Hurricane Ian hit directly.

Researchers from the University of Florida Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering and College of Medicine participated in the multidisciplinary study.

Water samples collected in the area show the presence of Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio vulnificus The bacteria thrive in warm saltwater and multiply during hurricanes and floods. It can cause illness or death in people who eat raw or undercooked seafood or enter the ocean with open wounds.

“We were a little surprised by the detection rate, which meant that Vibrio was easily found in the samples collected because we were not expecting these pathogens to be present weeks after the hurricane,” said Antarpreet S. Jutla, Ph.D., associate professor at Herbert University. . University of Florida Wertheim College of Engineering. “We are more curious about looking for antimicrobial resistance genes in water, Vibrio sample”.

Vibrio Bacteria occur naturally in the ocean, living in symbiotic relationships with crustaceans, zooplankton and bivalves such as clams and oysters.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. Symptoms include gastroenteritis and wound infections, as well as a bacterial infection called necrotizing fasciitis, which eats away at a person’s flesh.

This finding is consistent with recent warnings from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reported that, Vibrio vulnificus The bacteria is present in the eastern United States, with 150 to 200 cases reported each year. Most infections occur when bacteria enter an open wound, but about 10 percent of cases are caused by eating raw or undercooked shellfish. The warning states that about 20% of people in the United States have died after being infected.

“After Hurricane Ian, we saw an increase in necrotizing (flesh-eating) skin and soft tissue infections among people in the area who were exposed to storm surge,” said Dr. Norman Beatty, an assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine. , redness and swelling develop rapidly. ”

Beatty said blood-filled blisters often appear in the area and require immediate medical attention. Without appropriate antibiotics, wound infections can quickly require surgical removal of infected tissue, but early recognition of symptoms is key to avoiding surgical intervention or even amputation.

Some conditions conducive to growth during and after Hurricane Ian Vibrio bacteria, including changes in rainfall, sea surface temperatures, and the concentration of chlorophyll in the ocean (which can indicate the density of phytoplankton and zooplankton in any given area). Plankton blooms are also associated with bacteria.

“This study highlights the importance of understanding climate, weather and environmental processes on the distribution of clinically relevant pathogens affecting humans,” said Jutla. “This is unlikely to lead to an outbreak, but the public should be aware that the water and food they eat contain What ingredients.”

Brittany Silvestri October 18, 2023

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