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The new danger that hides under water bodies due to climate change

By Mohamed T Adam Mohamed

no swimmingWe all enjoy our summer by doing water activities and eating fresh seafood without thinking that there may be dangerous bacteria swimming on our skin and living in our seafood. This danger came about due to climate change. There are many negative impacts happening due to global warming and Increasing temperatures in water bodies is consider one of the most critical. Vibrio spp can be found only in warm water bodies such as the tropical regions, but due to global warming, the areas of Vibrio spp presence increased to include some northern regions such as the upper areas of the US and Canada. These countries are dealing with a warmer and longer summer season which leads to the survival of Vibrio spp for longer periods in northern water bodies (science daily, 2017).  

Some species of Vibrio are considered pathogenic for humans and other species of Vibrio are pathogenic for marine animals. The species that can cause infection for human are Vibrio cholerae, V. vulnificus, and V. parahaemolyticus (Plaza et al., 2018).

Vibriosis is an illness caused by Vibrio spp after consumption of contaminated raw seafood or having a wound exposed to contaminated seawater and most infections occurred during the warmer months such as July and August. The symptoms of Vibriosis are watery diarrhea, abdominal cramping, vomiting, nausea, fever, and chills. These symptoms usually start after 24 hours of the infection and last in 3 days. People with weak immune systems are more likely to have severe sickness (CDC, 2018)   

Vibrio spp are responsible for many foodborne illnesses around the world. In 2011, there was a large outbreak for Vibrio cholera in Haiti which led to more than 93,000 people getting sick and more than 2100 persons died because of this outbreak (Chin et al., 2011).

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In 2015, there was an outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus on the west coast of Canada (British Columbia and Alberta) that linked to raw shellfish and most of the cases reported eating raw oysters. Health Canada, CFIA, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Health Canada investigated 67 cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections but no deaths were reported (Cision, 2015). The outbreak was linked to the ongoing warm weather during the summer which causes the water temperature to rise (BCCDC, 2015).

VibrioWhat the public should do to protect themselves from Vibriosis?

1- Protect yourself and your children by covering your wounds when you swim in lakes, rivers, ponds, seas, and oceans during the summer season. Always take a shower after swimming.

2- Do not drink any water directly from lakes, rivers, ponds, seas, and oceans. Always boil water first to ensure it is safe for consumption.

3- Municipal agencies should perform a regular check of the quality of the lakes, rivers, ponds, seas, and oceans during the summer season. If the level of contamination is high, a warning should be posted to prohibit any water activities.

4- Avoid eating raw seafood especially in the summer season due to high chance of presence of Vibrio spp. Cooking will defiantly kill Vibrio spp and freezing for a long period of time may kill Vibrio spp.

Fighting global warming will be very effective if we all fight as individuals and together as group. What is your role in helping to reduce the impact of global warming? Go green and use recyclable material and sustainable sources of energy, and be part of the community that fights against any anti-ecosystem practices. What is the role of the international community to help in reducing the impact of global warming? Minimize the sources of greenhouse gas emissions, make regulations to help reduce global warming, and fight against desertification by expanding green cover around the world.

For further information about the causes of climate change, visit the links below:

For further information about Vibriosis, visit the links below:

Or join the 8th biennial International Conference on the Biology of Vibrios (ICBV) which will be held in Canada at McGill University in Montreal in November 17-20, 2019


BCCDC (2015). Ongoing warm weather increases risk of illness associated with raw shellfish consumption. Retrieved from

CDC (2018). Vibrio Species Causing Vibriosis. Retrieved from

Chin, Sorenson, B. H,D.,P. Robins,C. Charles,...Yamaichi. (2011). The Origin of the Haitian Cholera Outbreak Strain. The New England Journal of Medicin, 364:33-42

Cision (2015). Public Health Notice - Outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus linked to raw shellfish. Retrieved from

Plaza, Castillob, Pérez-Reytora, Higuerac, Garcíaa, and Bastías (2018). Bacteriophages in the control of pathogenic vibrios. Electronic Journal of Biotechnology. 31, 24-33

Science daily (2017). Warming climate could increase bacterial impacts on Chesapeake Bay shellfish, recreation. Retrieved from: