Going forward, if the world's oceans continue to heat up, vibrio will likely proliferate even further - pushing vibriosis rates up as well - Joe Satran
image by: Sara Kissel
What makes it a topic of concern, besides the massive increase, is that vibriosis is known as one of the most serious couple types of food poisoning around. About half the people infected by vibrio vulnificus, the more virulent of the two common strains, are killed by the bacteria. And many of those who survive the disease are left with life-altering disabilities, including amputations.
Vibriosis rates have been increasing for years, and scientists aren't completely sure why. Two likely factors are booming consumer demand for raw oysters, especially in restaurants, and better food safety monitoring systems that are catching exactly how many cases occur. But vibrio…
Going forward, if the world's oceans continue to heat up, vibrio will likely proliferate even further -- pushing vibriosis rates up as well. Cooking oysters thoroughly kills the bacteria, so regular eaters of po-boys and oysters Rockefeller don't have too much cause for concern. But if you're a fan of raw oysters, this is yet another reason to be very concerned about climate change.
Vibrios are gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria that occur naturally in estuarine or marine environments. Roughly a dozen species are known to cause disease in humans, accounting for an estimated 80,000 illnesses, 500 hospitalizations and 100 deaths each year in the United States. Infection is usually from exposure to seawater or consumption of raw or undercooked seafood. Vibriosis is characterized by diarrhea, primary septicemia, wound infections, or other extraintestinal infections. Infection with pathogenic species of the family Vibrionaceae can cause two distinct categories of infection: cholera and vibriosis, both of which are nationally notifiable.
Vibriosis is triggered by bacterial infection from the Vibrio genus, typically Vibrio parahemolyticus or Vibrio vulnificus. Diarrhea often accompanies Vibrio bacteria along with more serious skin infections, and blood infections. Vibrio parahemolyticus is a mostly harmless infection that commonly causes diarrhea, however the Vibrio vulnificus infection, while rare, may contribute to blood poisoning and fatality on many occasions.
Disease outbreaks can be influenced by water quality and temperature, the strain and virulence of the Vibrio bacteria and the amount of stress imposed upon the fish. Other species of Vibrio affect a wide range of species for example V. salmonicida mainly affects Alantic salmon and trout and causes cold water vibriosis, V. damsela affects Blacksmith species (Chromis punctipinnis), V. vulnificus also known as V. anguillicidacuases causes disease in eels. Both V. vulnificus and V. damsela are zoonotic. It is thought that the infection is caused from eating contaminated raw or undercooked seafood, in particular raw oysters. Immunocompromised and people with liver diseases are at increased risk.
Your Path to Meaningful Connections in the World of Health and Medicine
Connect, Collaborate, and Engage!
Coming Soon - Stitches, the innovative chat app from the creators of HWN. Join meaningful conversations on health and medical topics. Share text, images, and videos seamlessly. Connect directly within HWN's topic pages and articles.