Since 1998, there has been a significant increase in Vibrio parahaemolyticus-related gastroenteritis from the consumption of raw oysters harvested in Washington State, partly attributed to increases in water temperatures. This poses both a threat to public health and results in severe economic losses to the shellfish industry. Increased illnesses have continued to plague both public health authorities and shellfish growers in this region in spite of recent diligent monitoring and stricter post-harvest handling protocols.
This project aims to:
- Investigate the influence of environmental variables (temperature, salinity, chlorophyll, nutrients and co-associated phytoplankton) on concentrations of potentially pathogenic and avirulent strains of V. parahaemolyticus in oysters and in water in the Pacific Northwest.
Compare relationships between Vibrio concentrations and environmental variables in distinct geographic locations within the U.S.
- Evaluate possible linkages between populations of V. parahaemolyticius and V. vulnificus and blooms of both harmful, toxin-producing algae and non-toxic species.
- Evaluate specific interactions between V. parahaemolyticus and phytoplankton.
Rohinee Paranjpye, William Nilsson, Gladys Yanagida